Motion sensing and dusk-to-dawn lights are great for security purposes, but sometimes it is nice to have a little more control.
Installing a programmable timer switch in place of a standard single light switch can afford homeowners the freedom to have lights on when they want them and off when they don’t.
Step 1: Using the circuit breaker or fuse box, turn the power off to the existing switch and light.
Step 2: Remove the switch plate and unscrew the two screws holding the switch in place.
Step 3: Gently pull the switch out of its box and use a voltage sensor to confirm that there is no power running to the switch.
Step 4: Detach the wires from the existing switch. For single-pole switches there will be two wires, usually black, attached to terminal screws on the switch. There will also be two white wires tied together with a wire nut at the back of the box and possibly a bare copper wire for grounding the switch.
Step 5: Once the old switch has been removed, it is time to wire in the new timer switch. Begin by using a wire nut to attach the existing line wire to the black wire of the timer switch.
The line wire is typically a black wire running from the circuit box to the switch. In newer wiring applications, it should be the wire coming in at the bottom of the switch box.
Step 6: Remove the wire nut holding the two neutral or white wires together at the back of the box. Twist the white wire from the timer switch together with the two neutral wires and secure the three-wire connection with a wire nut.
Step 7: Use a wire nut to connect the load wire to the red wire from the timer switch. The load wire is typically a black wire running from the light fixture into the top of the switch box.
Step 8: If there is a ground wire in the box, connect it to the green wire on the timer switch.
Step 9: Wrap each of the wire nut connections with electrical tape and carefully press the timer switch into the outlet box.
Step 10: Secure the switch into place with two mounting screws. Reattach the switch plate and turn the power back on.
Step 11: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for programming the timer.