Proper way to wire a light switch

Wiring an electrical switch for a light bulb is a relatively easy task and many of us can do it ourselves. The nice thing about this type of connection is that no matter how you do it, it almost always seems to work. If you think about it, there are 2 ways to perform the connection. You can directly connect the “hot/life” line (+110V) to the bulb and have the neutral go through the switch (method No.1 in figure below) or you can directly connect the neutral wire to the light bulb and have the “hot/life” line (+110V) go through the switch (method No.2 in the figure below)


In both cases the connection will work; however, one method is much safer. Imagine you wire the switch and the light bulb by method No.1. Now the light bulb burns out and you want to replace it. You turn off the switch and proceed to replace the light bulb. If for some reason you touch the inside connection of the light bulb in the process, it is possible you will get shocked since your body can provide the ground to the “hot/life” line (+110V) which will still be connected to the light bulb even with the switch off. If you would have wired the bulb and the switch by method 2, even if you become in contact with the inside connection of the light bulb, you will not get shocked because it is the neutral line that is connected to the bulb when the switch is off not the “hot/life” line (+110V)


As an extra way of precaution, make sure that the “hot/life” (+110V) line connects to the bottom connection of the light bulb socket and not the connection made by the outside metal threads of the light bulb. If for some reason you forget to turn off your light switch before replacing a light bulb, it is more likely your body will become in contact with the threads or inside casing of the light bulb socket before it comes in contact with the inside bottom connection. This way can also help prevent an electrical shock at the time of replacing a light bulb.


Always take caution when working with electricity and treat any electrical line as “hot/life”.

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