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Current light switches do not have neutral wires... how big a job is it to get them?


I want to replace some of my light switches with modern ones which can be used as part of home automation systems. Almost all of these require that the light switch has a neutral wire. I've had a look inside my switches and they only have three wires: live, ground and the other one.

How big a job is it to get some of the switches to have neutral wires? Would the entire lighting circuit need to be replaced for all lights on the floor? Or could it be done just for a few key lights? Can the new cables normally be pulled through the hole using the old wire, or does it generally involve cutting into the plaster? Any rough estimates on how much it would cost (in North London)?


1 Answer from a MyBuilder Electrician

Best Answer

In the UK, its normal practice not to have a neutral conductor at the light switch. Substantial work would be required to rewire each light switch drop with a suitable 3 core and earth cable. May well require walls to be chased to install new cable as 3 core and earth is a physically larger sized cable and may not pull into existing tubes (if tubes are fitted at all). Not a job for a DIY-er as its all notifiable to building control and must be fully tested and certified. Failure to comply with the regulations can result in a £5000 fine.


Answered 9th Jan 2015

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