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Thread: Connecting the dimmer switch to the nuetral line?

  1. #1
    DIY Member Erico's Avatar
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    Default Connecting the dimmer switch to the nuetral line?

    I'm involeved in a little project at the neighbor's house - I'm helping out with the carpentry and drywall.

    Her father is doing a little electrical work - pulling a couple lights for a closet and hall light from an existing outlet.

    The old codger insists on connecting the dimmers/switches to the WHITE/NUETRAL wire and not the black/hot.

    I suppose the end result is the same as it pertains to breaking the circuit BUT is it SAFE?

    I've NEVER seen one wired that way by a pro and the directions always say black to black and white to white. There is a reason the dimmer switches come with black wires already attached.

    Why he insists on mixing and matching - I don't know.

    What are the rammifications? Is the house going to burn down? Everything else is done in a neat manner - wirenuts, tape and in conduit (per code in Chicago). But his bothers me.

  2. #2
    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Well, for one it is a serious code violation and has been for MANY years.

    Having the hot side hot all the time is only half the issue. With the neutral switched the neutral is also hot as it is being backfed through the load to the switch. So anyone working on the circuit (like him I bet) without shutting it off completely could be in for a (possibly deadly) surprise.

    If he is this insistent on doing something so stupid and wrong I would be suspect what other violations he is adamant about creating.
    Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC. If you're on the '14 already I feel sorry for you.

  3. #3
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Erico View Post
    The old codger insists on connecting the dimmers/switches to the WHITE/NUETRAL wire and not the black/hot.

    I suppose the end result is the same as it pertains to breaking the circuit
    As to functioning it should make no difference. The dimmer, source and load won't "know" it.

  4. #4
    In the Trades killavolt's Avatar
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    If you have a black and a white wire (only) coming into the box the switch was mounted in you have a switch leg coming in. The white wire should have been identified as such and marked accordingly.

  5. #5
    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Killa, from the sound of the OP it seems this old guy really is switching the neutrals.
    Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC. If you're on the '14 already I feel sorry for you.

  6. #6
    DIY Member Erico's Avatar
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    Default yes

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
    Killa, from the sound of the OP it seems this old guy really is switching the neutrals.
    You are correct

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