A double switch or two-pole or double pole is a type of switch that will be connected to two electric circuits that are separate.
It essentially contains two switches linked together, ensuring that there is always power delivery to the appliance depending on the switch you turn on.
The two-pole switch can be paired with many types of appliances. We often find it is popular in the medical sector and commercial sector too. You can still have them at home too.
You will come across two main types of two-pole switches in the market. They include double pole double throw and double pole single throw.
Starting with the double pole single throw, we find that it features 2 main states, which are on or closed state and off or open state.
This switch also has four terminals, two for input and two for output.
The double pole double throw switch, on the other hand, can be connected to different circuits, and you have up to six terminals to work with.
There will be two terminals for input and four for outputs. This switch has 3 main states including open or off, circuit number 1 closed, and circuit number 2 closed.
The wiring process is not the hardest, but it needs someone who already understands how the switch works to avoid making mistakes.
Wiring of a Two Pole Switch
Now that you know more about two-pole switches, let us focus on how to wire them. This is the fun part, so do not skip it.
1. Remove the old switches
Make sure no power is flowing to the room or switch you want to replace. Do this by turning off the circuit breaker. If the job had been done by a professional, it would be labeled clearly.
A voltage detector can be a good tool to check if power is coming to the switch. It is a vital tool to have as some electricians might have lumped the wires to a point the circuit breaker did not turn off all of them.
Here is a video on how to use a voltage detector.
Proceed with unscrewing the old switch and then pull it off the wall.
While removing the old switch, you also have to disconnect the various wires connected to it. Make sure to label them if you are unsure how to wire them later. Some would even consider taking a photo to make their job rewiring easier.
2. Install the double switch
With your two-pole switch ready, proceed to start the installation. Check to see if any of the wires are touching metal. Ensure no wires are touching metal.
If you had not labeled the wires, it might be necessary to turn on the power, and while using the voltage detector, find out which is the hot wire. Have it marked and separated.
Go back and turn off the circuit breaker to continue wiring the two-pole switch.
Now you have to determine which side of the double switch is for the feed wires and that for neutral wires.
The feed wires are those that connect to the appliance. The other side of the feed wires also gives power to the switch.
The feed wire terminals are mostly silver or black. The neutral side terminals will be copper, while the green wire represents grounding wire.
Attach one wire at a time to each of the terminals. Do not forget the grounding wire unless you want to risk an electric shock.
Always screw down the terminals tight so that the wires do not move. You do not want loose wires as you might end up with low voltage and other electrical issues.
Go ahead to cover the terminals with electrical tape before reinstalling the switch back to its position.
Here is a quick video with more details on how to wire a two-pole switch
3. Check if it works
Once the two-pole switch is installed, turn on the circuit breaker’s power. Flip the switches to see if it works.
You can always test the switches before reinstalling the switch back to the wall. It all depends on experience.
What is the purpose of a double pole switch?
It is a switch that can control two separate circuits. Its work is to help isolate the appliances safely depending on the application.
Do I need a double pole or single pole switch?
It depends on the use of the switch. Some applications might warrant using a double-pole, while others a single pole. Consulting an electrician can help you decide better.
Can you install a two-pole switch yourself?
It may depend on your skill level and understanding of electrical circuits. If you understand the connection, then it can be a DIY job to try out today.
With many videos online, you can follow some of them to wire the two-pole switch correctly.