How to Install a Timer Switch

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How to Install a Timer Switch

A timer switch is a handy device that automatically turns off a switch after a fixed period of time. This is particularly useful when you have kids at home, or for rooms that you have a tendency to leave things switched on for long periods of time. Not only are timer switches energy savers, they can be life savers too—you can prevent accidents arising from electrical malfunction due to devices being left on for too long. Here are the steps to successfully install a timer switch.

  1. Locate the breaker or fuse that supplies the power of the switch you want to replace. If your breakers are not labeled, have someone keep watch of that particular switch while you experimentally turn the breakers on one by one.
  2. Once you’ve located which breaker goes with which switch, leave a big sign asking people not to touch the fuse for the meantime. Working on an appliance with the electricity suddenly coming on may cause a serious accident.
  3. Use a screwdriver to remove the switch’s faceplate. Remove the screws that secure the existing switch to the wall box.
  4. Use a voltage tester to check the switch for power, another safety precaution. When it reads that it has no power, gently pull the existing switch out of the wall box. Loosen the side screws on the switch and remove the wires that connect them.
  5. Use your wire strippers to cut away the exposed wire, and then strip away ¾ inches of the new insulation off the wires as well.
  6. Open your new timer switch, and take note that there will be a unit within with green, black and white wires coming from inside. Use the wire connectors to connect the black timer switch wires to the black wall box wire. If your wall box has a non-insulated ground, simply connect the green switch wire around the ground screw on the switch if no green wire tail is included at all.
  7. If your timer switch does not have wire tails, connect the wall box wires by securing the black wire around the copper screw. You should then secure the white wire around the silver screw.
  8. Gently push the wires back in the box. Look for the two longer screws that were included in the packaging of your timer switch. Secure the timer switch with these two long screws.
  9. If your timer switch has a dial timer, slide the dial over the shaft of the timer switch.
  10. Return the panel box and the breaker back on. You can also replace the fuse to bring the power back to the switch or circuit.
  11. Now test drive your timer. Set the timer to turn off the switch in a minute. With the timer on, you should hear it ticking away, and when it turns off at the right time, you’re pretty sure to have done installing your timer switch correctly.

Make sure you take all kinds of safety precautions when installing switches or anything that might put you in the direct path of electricity.

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