How can you wire and control multiple lights at the same time? There are two methods you can use to link multiple lights together: Daisy-Chaining and Home Run configurations. In the Home Run technique, all the lights are wired directly to the switch while in the Daisy-Chaining configuration multiple lights are connected, and then eventually linked to the switch. Both methods are viable. We will carefully look at each in detail later in this guide.
Quick Summary: To connect multiple lights to a cord, you can use either Daisy-Chaining (lights will be connected in parallel) or the Home Run method. Daisy-Chaining involves connecting lights in a daisy chain configuration and then finally to the switch, and if one light goes off the rest stay on. Home Run involves connecting lights directly to the switch.
If you want to perform any sort of wiring, first turn off the circuit breaker. You should always be equipped with a tester to verify the flow of current in the wires as a safety measure.
Now let’s focus on the basics of light switch wiring before we begin the process.
Light Switch Wiring – Basics
It is good to understand the basics of the light switch before you handle it. So, before we connect our lights using either the Daisy-Chaining or the Home Run methods, we need to know the basics.
The 120-volt circuits that supply power to the lights in a typical home have both grounds and conducting wires. The hot wire is black. It carries electricity to the power source from the load. The other conducting wire is usually white; it completes the circuit by connecting the load to the power source.
The switch has brass terminals only for the ground wire because it interrupts the circuit’s hot leg. The black wire from the source goes to one of the brass terminals, and the other black wire that goes to the light fixture should be linked to the second brass terminal (the load terminal). (1)
At this point, you will have the two white wires and ground unconnected. Note that the return wire (white wire from the load to the switch) bypasses your switch. What you need to do is join the two white wires. You can do that by winding the exposed ends of the wires and screwing them on a cap.
What do you do to the green or the ground wires? Twist them together, in the same manner, you did the white wires. And then connect them to a green bolt or screw on the switch. I recommend leaving one wire long so you can wind it on the terminal.
We will now go on and wire the lights on one cord in the following sections.
Method 1: Daisy-Chaining Method of Wiring Multiple Lights
Daisy-Chaining is the method of linking multiple lights to one cord or switch. That enables you to control the linked lights using one switch.
This type of connection is parallel, so if one of the linked lights goes off the rest stays on.
If you connect only one light to a switch, there will be a single hot cable with a white, black, and ground wire in the fixture box.
Grab the white wire and link it to the black wire from the light.
Go on and connect the white wire on the light to the white wire on the fixture box, and finally connect the black wire to the ground wire.
For any additional fixture, you will require an extra cable in your fixture box. This extra cable should go to the light fixture. Run the extra cable via the attic and add the new black wire to the existing two black wires. (2)
Insert the twisted wire terminal into a wire cap. Do the same for the ground and white wires. To add other lamps (light fixtures) to the fixture, follow the same procedure you used to add the second lamp.
Method 2: Home Run Switch Wiring
This technique involves feeding wires from the lights directly into one switch. This method is suitable if a switch box is easily accessible and when the fixture is temporary.
Follow the procedure below to connect your lights to one cord in a Home Run configuration:
- Connect each outgoing wire to the load terminal on the switch. Twist or wind all the black wires using a 6-inch spare wire.
- Next, screw a compatible cap onto the spliced joint.
- Link the short wire to a load terminal. Do the same with the white and the ground wires.
This method overloads the fixture box hence a bigger one is needed for a comfortable connection.
Take a look at some of our related articles below.
- How to wire a chandelier with multiple lights
- How to test a light switch with a multimeter
- What color is load wire
(1) brass – https://www.thoughtco.com/brass-composition-and-properties-603729
(2) attic – https://www.familyhandyman.com/article/attic-insulation-types/