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Installing Dimmers for 3 Way and 4 Way Switches

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Wire 3-Way and 4-Way Dimmer Switches: Dimmer Switch Wiring Connections, Installing Multiple Dimmer Switches, Types of 3Way and 4Way Dimmer Switches.

Understanding 3 Way and 4 Way Dimmer Switch Wiring

Electrical Question: I want to add a dimmer switch to one of the switch locations. I replaced one of the three way switches with a 3 way dimmer switch.

  • I have a four way switch set up like your diagram shows and it works great.
  • The dimmer switch now acts like a master switch.
  • As long as the switch is on, the other switches in the circuit work and I can dim the lights.
  • However, if I turn the dimmer off, the other switches will not turn the light on. Is there a special type of dimmer switch in this circumstance?


This electrical question came from: Terry, a Handyman from Bermuda, New York.

Additional Comments: Great Website.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Terry and Mary.

How to Wire 3-Way and 4-Way Dimmer Switches

Application: Wiring a Dimmer Switch.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best if wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the dimmer switch wiring.
Materials: Make sure the replacement dimmer switch has the same amperage and voltage rating as the original switch, and is fully compatible with the electrical circuit, the light fixture and the type of light bulbs being used. The dimmer switch must be rated for the amount of watts that will be controlled.

Common Problems When Wiring a Dimmer Switch and How to Fix Them

  • Dimmer Switch Wiring Connections
    The wiring for the dimmer that you installed may be incorrect, or you may need to install the dimmer at another switch location.
  • Installing Multiple Dimmer Switches
    However if you would like to have multiple dimmer switches then you will need to install dimmers that do in fact have a master and one or more slave switches.
  • Types of 3Way and 4Way Dimmer Switches
    Brands such as Lutron which have the Maestro series of switches are perfect for this type of application.

More About Wiring 3-Way Dimmer Switch Wiring

3 Way Switch Diagram

Wiring a dimmer switch
3 Way Dimmer Switch Wiring Diagram
Fully explained 3 way dimmer switch wiring diagram will take the mystery out of wiring a 3-way dimmer switch.

4 Way Switch Wiring
4 Way Switch Wiring
4 Way Switch Wiring
Fully explained 4 way switch diagrams. 4-way switches are a convenient way to operate lighting fixtures from three or more locations. The electrical wiring adds additional wiring to the same principles of 3-way switching.

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Electric Circuit Listing
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