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Electrical Wiring in the Home/Replacing toggle switch to rocker & dimmer


Hi! I embarked on a small electrical project & ran into an issue. I wanted to replace my toggle switch to a rocker style and install a dimmer. There are currently two toggle switches on two separate walls that operate 4 ceiling lights. One toggle switch that I want to replace with the dimmer is a single plate. The other toggle is next to a toggle that operates an exterior porch light and a ceiling fan on/off/speed switch. I started with the easier replacement, and installed a rocker switch for the 4 lights and a rocker switch for the porch light. I flipped the circuit back on and both the ceiling lights and the porch light worked. I turned the circuit off and went to pull the toggle switch out, to replace that with a dimmer. Before I disconnected any wires, but had pulled the toggle switch away from the wall, I flipped the circuit just to be sure that it was off. None of the new rocker switches that I just installed would work. I flipped it again and nothing would turn on. I went back to the two rocker switches that I just installed and tried every possible combination with the wires. The lights will not turn on. Do you have any thoughts on what the problem is and if this is a fix that I can do myself? Thanks.

There are two things that come to mind.  When installing a 3 way switch, one screw is a different color, snd the wire that goes to the old odd colored screw must go to the new odd color screw.

You may have a loose wire somewhere in one of the boxes.  It could be under a wire nut, so it is not always easy to see.

Once the wires are mixed up, it will be hard to figure out what goes where.
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Bob Sponaugle


Just about any home wiring question. (not appliance repair) I have done all kinds of home wiring for myself, including adding a new breaker box, etc. Please, questions from North America only. Please be specific with details.

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