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Electrical Wire and Cable
Electrician Training Electrical Certification wiring recessed light fixtures Electrical Wiring Electrical Troubleshooting and Electrical Repairs wire outdoor light fixture Home Electrical Wiring Diagrams
wiring home generator and transfer switch wiring a 220 volt range cord outlet Wiring for GFCI Outlets Wiring Outlets and a Switched Outlet Wiring and Installing Ceiling Fans and Remote Controls wire dimmer switch wiring diagrams for switches wiring a dryer cord and 220 outlet circuit breaker panel
Electrical Wire and Cable

How to Wire Three Way Switches Part 2

3Way Switch Wiring Diagrams

3Way Switch Diagrams #4, #6 and #6

wiring-a-3-way-switch
Summary: Continuing on with wiring three way switches, these next three wiring diagrams in this series will help you identify three more possibilities for wiring the power feed and the switch wiring that leads to the light fixture.


Understanding 3 Way Switches



The name "three-way" can be a somewhat misleading because there are only two switches that are used to turn on and off one or more light fixtures from two locations.

An electrician may understand that a three way switch is actually a single pole, double throw switch. What this means is that a three way switch has a common terminal which toggles power from the other two terminals.

A three way switch is unlike a single pole light switch because it does not have an ON or OFF position, and you will not see the ON and OFF markings on a three way switch.

Where are Three Way Switches most commonly used?

Examples where three way switches are found in residential homes:

Hallway Lighting
Install 3way switches at each end of the hallway.

Stairway Lighting
Install 3way switches at the upstairs and downstairs locations.

Garage lighting
Install a 3way switch in the garage, and inside the house.


3-Way Switch Wiring


3-Way Switching provides switching from two locations
3-way switch wiring diagram #4

3-Way Switch Wiring Diagram #4 above, shows the electric circuit source power starting at the lower 3-way switch.

3-way switch wiring diagram #5

3-Way Switch Wiring Diagram #5 above, shows the electric circuit source power starting at the light fixture box, and the switch wiring leads out to the two 3way light switches.


related

Frequently Asked Questions

More about Wiring 3way Switches


Replacing a 3Way Switch with a Time Switch

Converting a 3Way Switch to a Time Switch: Converting the wiring from two 3way switches to become a single timer control is accomplished by converting the wiring so that the power source of the hot and neutral are at the location where the timer will be installed.

How Can I Light Up a Dark Hallway at Night for my Child?

Ashley in Kansas asks: I have a 6 year old who is terrified to walk down the dark hallway at night to get to the bathroom. I wanted to switch out the 3-way switch for a 3-way dimmer switch so I can leave the light on but dimmed so the whole hallway is illuminated.

How Can I Have a Light Switch that Has a Light In the Switch?

Ted in New York asks: I have a ceiling light in my bathroom with two 3way switches. I want to add some sort of a light Or lighted switch that would be on when the bathroom light is on, how can I wire this?

Electrical Question from Sal in New York about Wiring 3Way Switches

There are three switches in a 3 gang box, do I need the 12/3 wire: Electrical Question from Sal in New York about Wiring 3-Way Switches.

See more at the Electrical Questions Category Listing.

Learn more about Wiring 3way Switches

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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
Perfect for the Homeowner, Handyman, Electrician and Building Inspector.
Includes:
Methods for Home Electrical Wiring
Types of Light Switches and Lighting Controls How They are Wired
Wiring Diagrams for Light Switches
Wiring 3-Way Switches
Wiring 4-Way Switches
Wiring Dimmer Switches
How to Make Your Own Light Fixtures
....and much more.

» Click here to learn more about Home Electrical Wiring «

Electrical Tip

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.


More about Wiring Light Switches