A triple rocker electrical switch allows you to control three lights from a single location. The removal of the old light switch and the installation and wiring of a new light switch is the same for a triple rocker switch as it is for a single switch. The only thing that makes it more complicated is that you have three times the number of wires to keep track of. Otherwise, it is easy and straight forward to remove the old switch and install a new one. The whole job takes only about 10 minutes. The three rocker switches are the same size as a single switch and fit the same size electrical box. The switches are available at home centers, hardware stores or can be purchased online. When selecting a new switch, look at the options available such as lighted switches for areas that you may have trouble finding in the dark.
Things You Will Need
Light switch, Phillips screwdriver, Flat blade screwdriver, Wire Stripper, Circuit tester, Electrical or masking tape for marking wires
The first step is to turn off the power at the breaker box. Mark the breaker with a warning that you are working on the circuit so no one mistakenly turns the power back on. Test the circuit to make sure it is off. Electricity can be dangerous, always use caution when working with or around electrical equipment.
Remove the switch cover plate using a small flat blade screwdriver to remove the two screws holding it in place. Next, remove the two Phillips head screws holding the switch itself in place. Gently pull the old switch out of the box and note the position of each wire. This is important due to the number of wires and each wire must be connected in the same location on the new switch. I suggest marking the wires with masking tape or colored electrical tape.
On some switches the wires are placed under brass screws and you simply loosen the screws and remove the wires. Others have the wires inserted into the switch. These can be a little tricky to get out. Usually there is a small hole above or to the side of where the wire is inserted. Insert a small nail or similar object into the hole to release the wire. Sometimes you can simply twist the wire and switch gently from side to side while pulling on the wire to remove it. If all else fails, you can cut the wire at the base of the switch. I would do that as a last resort however because there is not a lot of excess wire to work with. If you do cut it, you will have to strip the wires before installing them. Most switches have wire length gauge on the switch to show you how much insulation to remove from the wire.
Connect the wires to the new switch in the same positions as the old switch. Gently push the wires and new switch back into the box and attach it with the two longer screws. Next replace the cover plate using the two smaller slotted screws. Turn the power back on at the breaker box and test the installation. If you hear any noise such as a crackle or pop or the breaker trips when any of the lights are turned on, disconnect the power again and check the wiring to make sure there are no exposed wires that may be coming in contact with the box or other wires.
A triple rocker electrical switch allows you to control three lights from a single location. When selecting a new switch, look at the options available such as lighted switches for areas that you may have trouble finding in the dark.
Tips & Warnings
Most switches are standard but you may want to remove the switch and take it to the store to ensure you have the exact replacement switch. The individuals at the hardware stores and home centers can assist you in making the right selection.
Replace switches during the brightest part of the day to provide the best possible natural light while you are working.
Electricity is potentially dangerous. Always treat it with respect and make sure you turn the power off and mark the breaker with a notice that you are working on the circuit.
If you are uneasy doing electrical work, hire a professional electrician.