Pro Tips on How to Separate Two Lights on One Switch

My new house got a severe problem. My bedroom got two lights, and its connection is fixed with one switch. Yes, when I turn one light on, the other also brightens, which sometimes is necessary.
I have never thought that I have to ponder how to separate two lights on one switch. Have to fix the problem anyhow.

Yes, having the power to turn multiple appliances just by one switch might seem like a fascinating and time-saving idea. But after a while, this can get annoying.

Even you might also find it disturbing at times.

Let’s dive into the methods and regulations to eliminate the problem and make one switch for one light or other appliances.

Separate Two Lights on One Switch


A single light switch is a light switch that can control and operate two fixtures at a time. They can be two lights, a light, a fan, or maybe even a bathroom fan.

But sometimes, a single light switch may seem like a hassle as it can turn on a fixture you don’t need.
You can turn your single light switch into a double light switch to avoid situations like this. This will allow you to control each fixture separately.

Converting a single light switch to a double light switch is a relatively simple task if each fixture has a separate cable running to the switch. However, if the fixtures are wired in a series connection, you will need the help of an electrician.

Things You’ll Need

  • Light fixture boxes
  • 2 Gang J-Box
  • Switch Boxes
  • 12-gauge electrical wiring
  • Utility knife
  • Pliers
  • Wire nut/caps
  • Insulated or normal screwdriver
  • Volt Claw
  • Voltage tester
Things You'll Need

Safety First

Before starting, wear rubber gloves and rubber sandals to prevent getting electrocuted during the process. Turn off the circuit breaker or the primary power source of your house.

To be extra careful, take a voltage tester to check if there is still any current in the system.

Single Pole Wiring Instructions

Wiring a single-pole switch is easy if you follow the proper steps. All you need to do is:

  • Turn off the power first
  • Remove the already existing switch box if necessary
  • Strip the electrical insulation from the wires
  • Connect the new switches
  • Wrap up the electrical wiring with electrical tape for added safety
  • Turn on the power and test if the switch works

How Do You Separate Two Lights on the Same Switch?

Let’s talk about the step-by-step process of separating two different lights from the same switch. It can be done using a 2 Gang J-Box or an alternative method.

Method 1: Using 2 Gang J-Box

Step 1:

First, purchase a 2 Gang J-B0x from the market or any nearby hardware store. J-boxes have two different versions. The older model is usually attached to the wall with a screw. At the same time, the newer version comes with two nails to attach it to the wall.

After getting, inspect the J-box thoroughly. They contain information about the number of wires and gauges used for the J-box.

Step 2:

Next, attach the J-box to the wall and feed the wires from the two lights inside the openings. Leave about 6 inches of wire inside. Sometimes this step is tough to do. In that case, you can take the help of pliers to push down the wires inside.

Step 3:

Now, take the cable from the power source and feed it inside the J-box. Then take the wires inside and start to strip them. You can do it with an anti-cutter or a utility knife.

Be extremely careful while doing this, as you can face serious injury if you are not adequately concentrated.

Step 4:

In this next step, pigtail the wires to make your work easier. Install the pigtails with the ground wires. Now take the black wires and bend them at the end with a plier or volt claw, making a hook.

Next, take the hook end of the wire and attach it to the two switches. Hook them in a clockwise position and then tighten them with a screwdriver. We should have two switches, each containing a hot terminal at the top and a ground terminal at the bottom.

Step 5:

Now take the black hot wire from the power and attach it to the black pigtail of the first switch. Next, take the hot wire from the first light fixture and connect it with the first switch.

Repeat the same process for the second switch box. Then connect the wires of the two switches with the black wire coming from the power with a wire connector or a wire nut.

This way, the black wire from the power will feed both the first and second switches. And the hot wire of the first and second switch will provide power to the first and second light fixture, respectively.

This way, you will be able to separate the two light fixtures. You can individually control each light fixture without turning both lights on.

Alternative Method

Step 1:

Before doing any electrical work, always ensure all power is off. I know I am saying this a lot, but I cannot stress this enough.

Wear gloves and rubber-soled shoes all the time. Check if there is still any electricity left with a voltage tester.

Step 2:

Pull the switch assembly out of the switch box carefully. There should be three to four wires attached to the screws on the switch.

Next, identify the hot wire, live wire, and two neutral wires, one for each fixture. The live wire is often black or red, and the white wires are neutral. The ground wires are some.

The ground wire should also be usually green, copper, or yellow.

Step 3:

Next, unscrew and detach all the wires from the old switch and carefully separate them. Mark them as “1” and “2,” depending on which switch you attach them to. After assorting them, connect them to the new separate switches.

All the white wires will go to the sides of the new switches, and the red or black feed wires will attach to the screws on the sides. Only attach one wire to each terminal and then cover the terminal with electrical tape.

If there is any, the ground wire will be attached to the green screw. Curl the wire in a clockwise hook and then tighten the screw down.

Step 4:

Set the new switch back into the box. Now, turn the circuit breaker on and test the newly installed switches. Note down which switch now controls which light fixture.

With this, your single light switch has now been converted to a double light switch. Now you can turn on the lights independently without turning on any other fixture.


While working with any electrical appliances, turn off the power source first, as you can get a fatal shock if you come in contact with live wires. Disconnect the circuit cable that powers the light switches for additional safety.

If you still have any doubt in your mind, test the cable wires with a voltage tester.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How Many Lights Can You have on One Switch?

There is no fixed limitation on how many lights you can attach to one switch. One light switch can quickly turn on multiple lights. However, the light fixtures determine how many lights a circuit can withstand.

A conventional 15A circuit can have up to 1400W lighting loads connected simultaneously. So, you can install multiple lights with lower fixtures or fewer with higher fixtures according to your need.

For example, a 1400W lighting load can withstand one 1400W or 100W fixture. [1]

Q: What Does SP Stand for on a Light Switch?

The word SP on a light switch stands for Switch Pole. Light switch poles can be either single poles or double poles. In single pole switches, the neutral wires are permanently connected after it switches one wire.
The pole of a switch generally refers to the number of separate circuits a switch box can control. In the case of single pole switches, they can control only one circuit. In contrast, double pole switches can control two different single pole switches.

Single pole light switches are standard, simple light switches that offer a regular off-and-on function. These are mainly used for household purposes and not in industrial settings.

Q: Is the Single Pole Switch Safer?

The single-light switch is perfectly legal and is safe for many household appliances. But it is not safer than a double-pole light switch. A double pole socket switches the live and neutral, ensuring safe isolation for the appliances plugged in.

On the other hand, the single pole light switch switches only the neutral wires. From this aspect Double pole switch seems like the safer choice to me.

This device also simultaneously opens and closes the two poles to completely disconnect the user from the mains. This provides excellent protection to the load and makes it a safer solution.

Final Thoughts

Before you work on the wirings, cover yourself with all the safety measures. Your health is essential in the first place.

Also, no way you cannot break the switch or cut the wirings during the process. If you don’t know how to separate two light on one switch, just pass it off to the electrician. Risk is never an alternative here.

So before you go into practice, ensure you are ready and competent.

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Manuel Elmad

Manuel Elmad has always been interested in technical things. When he was just a kid, he worked in a mechanical shop and learned all about the inner workings of electronics and machines. This sparked his thirst for knowledge and led him to pursue a career in this field. For the past 8 years, He has been working as a technician and loves to learn new things and also helps others to learn. In his spare time, Elmand likes to strike on the keyboard for spreading his knowledge and go hiking with his friends.

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