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Troubleshooting Light Switch Wiring

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How Can I Wire Two Light Switches to Control One Light Fixture? The Key to Wiring Light Switches, Three Way Switches and Four Way Switches.

Guide to Wiring Light Switches

Electrical Question: How Can I Wire Two Light Switches to Control One Light Fixture?

I have wired the lights as follows:

Many thanks.

Background: Stephanie, a Homeowner from Los Angeles, California.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Stephanie.

How to Fix Light Switch Wiring and Three Way Switches

Application: Electrical Wiring for 3-Way Light Switches.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
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 lighting circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing or modifying 3-way switch wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Materials: Make sure replacement 3-way light switches have the same amperage and voltage rating as the original three way light switch, and is the switch is fully compatible with the electrical circuit, the light fixture and the type of light bulbs being used.

The Key to Wiring Light Switches, Three Way Switches and Four Way Switches


More about Wiring Light Switches

3 Way Switch Diagram

For more information about Light Switch Wiring
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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

4 Responses to “Troubleshooting Light Switch Wiring”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi David,
    If the switch box is metal then it is possible that it has become energized which could cause the switch to become energized. This is possible if the switch box is not grounded and a live wire is making contact with the metal box. The circuit should be shut off, and the box and enclosed wiring should be inspected carefully to discover any uninsulated portion of wire which may cause the problem. Once this has been discovered be sure to insulate the wire with electrical tape or make new wire splices as needed.

  2. David Miller says:

    My light switch is energized, found it with my tester. There are no visible bare wires in the box. What could cause this? I also changed the switch with a new one.

  3. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Wayne,
    Make sure the power source has all of the circuit wiring required for your new pendant, and double check the wiring to the switch, then to the pendant. One step at a time checking the path of the electrical circuit.

  4. Wayne Doran says:

    I have been trying to install a new ceiling pendant in my living room which is one light but there are 2 switches in my room. I have done everything correct I think. I located the live switch wire etc. but when I flick the switch on nothing happens. Please help as it is driving me round the bend.