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Three Way Switches Can Become Faulty


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

I have 2 three-way switches for kitchen light that have worked fine since the beginning. However, recently the switches haven’t worked correctly…

Electrical Question from Ed about Troubleshooting 3-Way Switches
Background: Ed, a Homeowner from Rochester, MN

Question: I have lived in my house for 5 years. I have 2 three-way switches for kitchen light that have worked fine since the beginning. However, recently the switches haven’t worked correctly. With both switches up, light is on. I flip switch #1 down and the light goes off. I flip switch #2 down, the light goes on. Seems to be working fine. But then I flip switch #1 back up and the light stays on. This has happened with both switches, light stays on or off. What would have changed? Could something have happened with one of the switches? Do I need to replace one or the other or both?

Additional Comments: Seems to be a good resource for electrical issues. thank you.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Ed. If nothing has been touched with the wiring or switches recently then I suspect that one of the switches has become faulty. It may be best to replace both switches being very careful to identify the wiring pattern of each existing switch and replacing one at a time.
Always identify the circuit and turn the power off before replacing the switches.

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