If you are bored of having to remember to turn your lights on at dusk and then off again in the early hours, a timer could give an easy and inexpensive method to automate your home’s lighting needs. Because timers turn lights on and off automatically depending on your programmed schedule, they can also add a layer of security for your home while helping to keep your electricity costs in check. Best of all, installing a timer isn’t any more difficult than installing a regular single-pole switch.
Removing the Existing Switch
Switch off the circuit breaker that’s delivering power to the switch you’re planning on replacing with the timer. If you don’t have someone helping you with the task and your breakers are not labeled properly, you can turn the light switch on (make certain the light is functioning) then turn off person breakers one at a time till you become aware of the light turn away. As soon as you have the circuit breaker off, then remove the switch plate cover and test the switch with a noncontact voltage tester to confirm that the circuit is away.
Remove the top and bottom screws which secure the switch to the wall box.
Pull the switch from the box carefully by drawing on the top and bottom tabs of the switch toward you.
Loosen the two terminal screws on the switch and then disconnect the wires. Bend the cable that was attached to the upper side screw terminal toward the top of the box (the load cable) and the cable from the underside terminal toward the base of the box (the line cable). Loosen the green ground screw on the switch and then disconnect the ground cable from the switch.
Installing the Timer
Snip off the bent ends of the wires in the wall box with the cutting tool on the cable strippers. Locate the appropriate sized stripping channel on the cable strippers and strip off a 3/4-inch piece of insulation from the end of each cable so you’ve got a fresh lead to utilize.
Connect the ground cable on the timer to the ground cable coming from the wall box. If the timer does not possess a preinstalled ground cable, then connect the ground cable from the wall box to the ground screw to the timer.
Pull the neutral wires from the wall box and remove the cable connector that’s securing them together. Connect the white wire from the timer to the other white wires and then secure all of them together with the cable connector. Make sure the connector is on tight and that no copper is visible. Wrap electrical tape tightly around the port in which it matches the wires for added protection. Push the neutral wires back into the wall box.
Connect the black cable on the timer to the line side cable (the one bent toward the base of the box) and then secure them tightly together with a cable connector. Wrap the connector with a strip of electrical tape in which the wires leave the connector.
Connect the red cable on the timer to the load side cable (the one bent toward the surface of the box) and then secure them tightly together with a cable connector. Wrap the connector with a strip of electrical tape in which the wires leave the connector.
Push the wires into the box so that you may match the body of the timer comfortably within the wall box. Secure the timer to the wall box with the included screws.
Install the timer’s wall plate and then timer dial up (if it features one) as instructed. If the timer version includes a dial, you can schedule it prior to turning the electricity back on, but if it is a digital timer, then you will have to restore power to the circuit before you’re able to program it.
Restore power to the circuit by turning the circuit breaker back on, and test your timer installation to be certain everything works properly.