How To Wire Two Light Switches
Stephanie in California asks; How Can I Wire Two Light Switches to Control One Light Fixture?
Wiring Two Light Switches
Electrical Question: How Can I Wire Two Light Switches to Control One Light Fixture?
- I am trying to wire two light switches in my living room to operate one light.
- I would like to wire the switches to control one light but the switches aren’t working right.
- One light switch contains a 3-wire with ground wire cable.
- The other light switch contains one 3-wire with ground wire and one 2-wire cable with ground wire.
- I have two identical switches that are the single gang 3-way type which have a common connection and two brass screws I’m calling T1 and T2.
I have wired the lights as follows:
- Light switch one – C = black wire , T1 = white, T2 = red (ground to ground terminal in box)
- Light switch two – C = black (from 3-wire & ground cable), T1 = red (from 2-wire & ground cable) & black, T2 = white (from 2-wire & ground cable) & black (ground to ground terminal in box).
- The light is on but the switches aren’t working as they should. Can you please tell me where I’m going wrong?
Background: Stephanie, a Homeowner from Los Angeles, California.
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. This electrical project is 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
- Testing Light Switch Wiring:
- Use caution while testing light switch wiring while the light circuit power is turned on.
- Testing to identify light switch wiring may involve using a voltage tester while the light circuit power is on, or a continuity tester or ohm meter while the power is turned off.
- The key for wiring all light switches is to identify where the incoming power is found within the light switch circuit wiring.
- Next, identify the wiring leading to the light fixture.
- If two three way switches are used then the wiring between the two three way switches must be identified.
- If there is one or more four way switches you will notice that they are typically wired in between the two three way switches and each pair of screw connections of the four way switch are connected to the wires that are connected to the pair of traveler wires that are connected at the bottom brass screws of the two three way switches.
- Once the location of the power source and light fixture wires have been identified then it is very helpful to follow the wiring connections as shown on the wiring diagrams that I have provided links to which are found below:
- Electrical Wiring Diagrams
- Home electrical wiring diagrams are an important tool for completing your electrical projects.
- An electrical wiring diagram can be as simple as a diagram showing how to install a new switch in your hallway, or as complex as the complete electrical blueprint for your new home or home improvement project.
More about How to Wire Light Switches
For more information about Light Switch Wiring
Light Switch Wiring
- Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
- Fully explained pictures and wiring diagrams about wiring light switches describing the most common switches starting with photo diagram 1.
- Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring Problems
- Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.
- Electrical testers enable you to identify electrical circuits and help prevent the possibility of accidental electrical shock.
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!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 that I use to easily Detect 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.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
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