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Different Types of Light Switches and How It Works

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Besides proper electrical wiring, no light installation procedure is complete without light switches. These devices exist in many different kinds in the market. Some light switches merely consist of an on and off feature while others include additional features such as brightness adjustment. It’s easy to disregard how vital a light switch is since it’s basically a natural aspect of everyday life. In spite of that, it’s important to learn how they work in order to be able to troubleshoot them in case they’re in need of sudden light switch servicing.

There are many different types of light switches to pick from when choosing the best light installation for your office or home. In addition, they come in different colors as well as a number of designs. For this article, we explore the different types of light switches and how they function. These include on/off switches, 3-way light switches, and 4-light switches.


On/Off Light Switch


Needless to say, an on/off light switch is a type of device which powers lights on and off from a single area. As such, they are also referred to as “single location switches”, “single throw switches”, and “single pole switches”. The reason why they’re called “single pole switches” is because only one hot wire is connected to the switch. Meanwhile, the “term single throw” indicates that the switch connects to one wire upon being turned on. Some homeowners prefer this type of light switch since it’s relatively easy to control especially when doing a light switch replacement.

This light switch contains a spring-loaded gate that closes upon being turned on. After which the circuit closes and power flows from the switch to the light fixture. Once the switch is turned off, the spring-loaded gate unlocks thereby reopening the circuit and interrupting the current flow. If you have a switch such as this which becomes damaged over time, immediately call for a licensed electrician to have it repaired.


3-Way Light Switch


This type of light switch is also referred to as a “single pole double throw switch”. The reason why electrical contractors refer to it as a “double throw” switch is that it alternates between one hot wire connected to it and two other wires called “travellers”. The travellers essentially connect to a separate 3-way switch which is linked to another wire whose function is to carry power to the light fixture. Having this type of switch installed may take more time since its electrical wiring is slightly more complex compared to an on/off light switch.

When looked at closely, a 3-way light switch resembles a ‘V’ shape and consists of a terminal to which the circuit breaker’s hot wire connects. This terminal is commonly referred to as a “point terminal” or “the common” and is marked by a dark screw. Meanwhile, two traveller wires called “traveller terminals” connect to the two endpoints of the switch and are generally distinguished by bright brass screws. If you wish to have this light switch installed, don’t hesitate to contact professional light switch services.


4-Way Light Switch


This type of switch is referred to as a double pole, double throw switch. Double pole means that the switch connects to two traveller wires which are linked to the electrical panel. There are also two other traveller wires which transport power to the light fixture. On the other hand, electrical contractors also refer to it as double throw since it alternates between both pairs of traveller wires.

One of the two pairs of traveller wires heats up whenever the switch is turned on. However, if the switch is adjusted such that the hot wire is connected to only one traveller wire, then the light eventually powers off. Because this type of switch’s electrical installation process takes longer compared to other switches, it’s best to have a professional install it for you.

If you’re experiencing any light switch-related issues, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced electrician or avail of our professional light switch services. For more information, make sure to view our price list.

Everyworks Singapore gives you the quickest solution to resolve all home maintenance issues faced by the busy modern individual. Fast response, fast arrangements and quality workmanship at reasonable and affordable prices. As a leading trusted service provider in Singapore, we have served over 20,000 customers delivering outstanding service with hundreds of highly-rated reviews of our professional plumber, electrician, aircon servicing technicians and handyman teams. Read through our articles and browse our past works to find out more about our home services in Singapore. To find a quick solution to your home repair woes, contact our dedicated and fast response customer support with a picture or a quick text either by Whatsapp at +65 82410032 or calling us at +65 6909 0990. For email enquiries, send it to


This article is reproduced from Daylight Electrician Singapore.

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