How to Separate Two Lights on One Switch

When living in a house with lights controlled by one switch, it can be difficult to control the two lights independently. This is especially true when one light needs to be turned on or off while the other remains as-is. Separating the two lights onto different switches allows for much more flexibility in how you use your lighting.

It also allows you to conserve energy by turning off one light without turning off both. Knowing to separate two lights on one switch is an important part of home maintenance and electrical work.

How to Separate Two Lights on One Switch

One of the key advantages of separating two lights on one switch is that it allows users to control each light independently. This means that one light can be switched off while the other remains on, or vice versa.

Furthermore, it provides flexibility and convenience by allowing multiple access points to switch lights on or off. This makes it easy to switch off one light while keeping the other on in hallways and stairwells, for example. In this blog post, You will learn how to separate two lights on one switch in detail.

What Type of Switches Should You Use to Separate Two Lights on One Switch? 

When it comes to separating two lights on one switch, you want to make sure you use the right type of switch. The most common type of switch used for this purpose is a three-way switch. Three-way switches are designed specifically for multiple light applications and employ separate connections between two locations to control a single light fixture or multiple light fixtures.

In basic terms, a three-way switch contains two black screws that connect to the power supply and three brass terminals. The common terminal is typically labeled “COM,” and the other two terminals are designated as either “L1” or “L2”. When wiring a three-way switch, you will need to connect the wires to the appropriate terminals. The common terminal joins the two lights together, while “L1” and “L2” provide power from different locations.

When it comes to choosing the right switch, there are a few things you should consider. It’s important that you select a three-way switch that is compatible with the power supply in your home. Additionally, you want to make sure the switch you buy can handle the wattage of all the lights it will be controlling. Finally, determine if you need a single pole or three-way switch for installation in your home.

Three-way Switch for Installation

Tools & Materials You Will Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutters
  • Electrical tape
  • Outlet boxes (1 for each light)
  • Lamp holders or ceiling lights and their mounting hardware
  • Ground wires
  • Romex wire (for connecting power to the lights)
  • Pigtails/jumper wires (for connecting two switches together)
  • Wall switch mounting plates
  • Electrical boxes for the switches

Step by Step Processes for How to Separate Two Lights on One Switch

Step 1: Inspect the Existing Wiring

Unscrew the light switch cover and remove it. The wires will be visible at the back of the switch. Note each wire’s color and placement in relation to the switch. Find your home circuit breaker panel, turn off all power to this particular circuit, and double-check with a voltage tester to ensure no power is going to the switch.

Step 2: Disconnect Wires from Switch

Loosen the two screws holding each wire to the switch and remove them. Label each wire according to its position on the switch, or create a diagram showing where they were located. Make sure all wires are secure and not touching each other.

Step 3: Attach New Wires to Old Ones

Run a new wire from each old one, both of which will terminate at the other side of the light switch. Using wire nuts or electrical tape, connect each pair of wires together and twist them securely. Make sure that no wiring is exposed and all connections are secure for safety purposes.

Using Wire Nuts

Step 4: Attach Wires to New Switch

Take the new light switch and attach the two pairs of wires to it. Make sure each pair goes into the appropriate slot or terminal on each side of the switch. Tighten all screws securely and check for any exposed wiring.

Step 5: Test It Out

Carefully screw the light switch back onto the wall and turn the power back on at the circuit breaker. Test each switch to make sure they work properly. If everything works, then you have successfully installed your new light switches.

Step 6: Final Tips & Advice

Always turn off all power at the switch and circuit breaker when attempting to separate two lights from one switch. Make sure your home is well-ventilated when working with wiring and always ensure all connections are secure. If you’re ever in doubt, contact a professional electrician for assistance.

Tips for How to Separate Two Lights on One Switch

  1. Make sure the power is completely off before doing any work! Turn off the breaker to the switch and test it with a voltage tester to ensure it’s off.
  2. Unscrew the switch plate and carefully remove the existing wiring from the light switch.
  3. Take pictures of each connection, or draw a diagram to ensure you reconnect the wires properly.
  4. Determine the type of switch that you have – single pole or double pole – and match it with a replacement switch of the same type.
  5. Replace the existing switch with the new one, following the directions on the package.
  6. Separate the two lights by connecting the wires from one light to one side of the switch and the wires from the other light to the other side.
  7. Securely reattach all wiring and screw in any outlet or wall plates you removed.
  8. Before turning on the power, double-check your work with a voltage tester for safety. Now you can turn the power back on and test out each light with the switch.
Securely Reattach All Wiring

Follow these steps to properly separate two lights on one switch, ensuring a safe and successful project.

How Much Time Should You Expect It to Take to Complete This Project Successfully? 

The amount of time needed to complete this project depends on your skill level and the complexity of your wiring. If you have basic knowledge of electricity, it should take no more than an hour or two.

However, if you are a beginner in the field of electrical work, it might be wise to enlist the help of a professional to ensure the project is done correctly and safely. If you do decide to hire a professional, expect it to take around two to four hours, depending on the complexity of your setup.

It is important that you turn off all electricity before beginning this project to prevent any potential shocks or damages. Make sure to double-check with a voltage detector and never touch any exposed wires. Safety is of the utmost importance when dealing with electrical wiring, so take all necessary precautions.

Are There Any Potential Risks Associated With Connecting Two Lights to One Switch?

The risks of connecting two lights to one switch depend on the wiring setup and the individual components used. In general, connecting two lights to one switch can be done safely as long as all wires are properly connected and a suitable circuit breaker size is chosen.

Avoid the Risks Associated With Multiple

However, some potential risks are associated with multiple wiring lights to one switch. If the wires are not properly connected, it can cause an overload on the switch and damage the wiring. Additionally, using a circuit breaker that is not large enough to handle the increased load can result in a blown fuse or tripped breaker. This can create a hazardous situation as electricity may be diverted to other areas of the home.

To avoid the risks associated with multiple wiring lights to one switch, it is important to double-check all connections and ensure that a larger circuit breaker size is chosen. An electrician should also be consulted if you are unsure how to wire your lights properly. This will help ensure that all components are connected safely and accurately.

Is It Necessary to Hire an Electrician for Assistance if you are uncomfortable doing this yourself?

If you are not comfortable with wiring your own electrical work, it is highly recommended to hire a qualified electrician to assist you. Though this project may seem simple, an inexperienced individual can cause larger issues due to lack of knowledge or experience in electrical work.

An electrician should be able to help you safely and correctly separate two lights on one switch. They will also be able to provide any additional information or instruction you may need to complete the task properly. It is worth spending a few extra dollars on the electrician’s services if it means ensuring that your wiring job is done correctly and safely.

Hiring an electrician to help with wiring projects is always the smartest choice, regardless of your level of expertise in electrical work or experience. An experienced electrician can quickly and safely separate two lights on one switch for you, leaving you with a project that is done correctly and efficiently.


In conclusion, while separating two lights on one switch may seem daunting, it is quite simple. All you need are some basic tools and a bit of knowledge. With the right supplies and the patience to follow all of the steps correctly, anyone can safely separate two lights on one switch and light up their home in no time.

For those who aren’t comfortable or confident enough to tackle the job on their own, it is always recommended to hire a professional electrician for even the most basic of lighting tasks. I hope this article has been beneficial in learning how to separate two lights on one switch. Make Sure the precautionary measures are followed chronologically. 

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