Help wiring a 3 way switch
No problem, I can help you with that.
Three way switches have become very popular because it adds convenience and ease to lighting in large rooms, hallways and staircases. For more flexibility, add a Four way switch.
I trust that you have already mastered how to wire a single pole light switch already so lets get right into it.
These switches are a bit more confusing and you may find yourself getting a little frustrated... relax. Take your time, mark the wires properly and you will not only be successful, you will stay sane.
The first thing you will need to determine is where the power is coming from and where the switches are positioned.
I have a few examples below that should cover pretty much any situation.
Option #1: Power to switch -- to switch -- to single light.
Option #2: Power to switch -- to switch -- to light -- to light...
Option #3: Power to switch -- to light -- to switch.
Option #4: Power to switch -- to light -- to light -- to switch.
Option #5: Power to light -- to switch -- to switch.
Be sure to mark the white wire as noted so if any future repairs or replacement is needed, whoever goes into the box will know it is marked as a hot wire.
Option #6: Power to light -- to light -- to switch -- to switch.
The white wire coming from the second or last light will be marked "hot" with black electrical tape. This way, all the wires can be used with no waste.
Option #7: Power to light -- splits to switch and to light -- light to switch.
When wiring a 3 way switch in this fashion, the lights can be controlled by two switches and the double run of 14/2 wire between the lights ensures that if one bulb goes out, they all don't.
Option #8: Power to light -- splits to two 3 way switches
This option is helpful if you are adding a light to an existing building and it is easier to drop all the lines down from an attic instead of trying to get wiring up from a finished basement or trying to fish wire up two stories.
Option #9: Power to switch -- splits to switch and to light
Keep in mind that the maximum allowable wires in a standard size electrical box is five (5). In this option you will have seven (7) wires in the first box. Not to worry, you can purchase and oversize receptacle box just for such an occasion.
Hey, doing it yourself is great but if you are unsure of the advice given or the methods in which to job is done, don't do it. This site is merely a collection of how some people do home improvements. There is no way we can anticipate every situation and we do our best to inform of any risks for each job. Be sure to check local building codes for proper installation and permits. If in doubt, hire it out.
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