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How to Wire and Install 3-way Switches

How to Wire a 3 Way Switch (with Pictures) - wikiHow

How to Wire a 3 Way Switch. A three-way switch allows you to turn a light on or off from two different switches. Three-way switches are useful for large rooms with multiple entrances, but require a bit more wiring than a standard. A three-way switch is a handy convenience to control a light from two locations, such as at the top and bottom of a staircase. If the words On and Off aren't embossed on the switch and it's one of two switches that control a single light or receptacle, you have a three-way switch. Seems like it should be called a two- way switch. 15 Dec The most basic three-way switch setup has two switches that connect and control one light fixture, like switches on either end of a hallway, staircase or large living area. In most cases the light (or array of lights) they operate sit on the ceiling above. Specifically these are hard wired lights, not merely lamps.

Armed with a wiring diagram and the necessary tools, install the boxes that house the switches. According to job specifications, the boxes in this demonstration are hung at 48" from the ground. The boxes come with their own attachment nails, so hammer the boxes into read more first available stud from the doorframe.

The metal boxes that house the overhead light and fan have been permanently installed for instructional purposes. For instructional purposes, the main circuit panel is located within this mock bathroom.

In a typical residence, the circuit panel would most likely be located in another area. Unless absolutely qualified for system installation, it's recommended that you leave the installation of your home's electrical system to a licensed electrician. Snake the gauge non-metallic NM sheathed cables from the main panel, through pre-drilled holes in the studs and up to the boxes Image 1. From the boxes, run the cable up and along the joists to the ceiling boxes that house the fan and light.

Cut the cable to length with linesman pliers, leaving some excess at the boxes for the connections Image 3. In a typical residential situation, this would complete the "rough-in" stage of the job.

Use a cable stripper to slit the cable's plastic insulation and peel it open Image 1. Trim the peeled insulation with wire cutters. Before stripping the cables that feed the overhead fixtures, install two-screw cable connectors Image 2 into the holes called knockouts, out of the boxes.

How to Install a 3-Way Switch

These connectors serve not only to protect the wire, but also to hold them in place. For this particular box, prepare the ground wires for two switches by fitting a copper crimping sleeve over the three incoming ground wires plus two extra pieces of bare wire Image 3. Tightly crimp all the wires together using a multi-function stripper Image 4.

Hook Up Three Way Light Switch

To form a good electrical bond, splice the wires by twisting them together with pliers Image 5. Later, the two extra wires extend to connect to the ground terminals on the switches.

How to replace your old, outdated 3-way light switches

For now, the wires are tucked back into the box. With the ground wires secured, work on splicing the neutral white wires. Bundle the three same-colored wires together and uses wire-cutters to trim the ends to an even length. Using wire strippers, strip off a 1" section of insulation from each wire. To splice, hold the three wires together in one hand, while twisting them together with pliers Image 1.

It isn't uncommon either to have one three-way switch in the same box as two or even three others. These link the switch to your light fixture. Also, rather than having two terminal screws like a conventional single-pole light switch, a three-way switch has three. Think here it as extra insurance in case you run into trouble along the way. It ties into the common on the left switch.

A good rule of thumb when splicing is to keep the insulation end lined up. To complete the splice, screw on a plastic yellow wire nut over the exposed twist of wires Image 2. Because there are two switches in this box, but only one incoming hot wire, a pigtail will need to be created to power both switches.

By splicing the one incoming wire with two extra pieces of wire insulated in black to denote "hot" the electricity of two terminals can be channeled.

Protect this splice with a yellow wire nut.

3 Way Switch Wiring Diagram

With the hot, neutral and ground wires prepared, connect the switches to each box. Loosen the terminal screws with a screwdriver, and then using a hole in the wire stripper, bend the exposed wire into a loop Image 1. Hook Up Three Way Light Switch each wire to the correct terminal, orienting the direction of the loop clockwise so that when you tighten the screw, the hooked wire maintains its shape Image 2.

With all connections made, carefully tuck the wires into the boxes, making sure to keep the ground wires separate from any metal or wires, and then screw the switches into the boxes. Wire the exhaust fan and recessed light fixture. Because the housings are permanently installed, this is merely a matter of splicing like-colored wires.

Again, protect the splices with wire nuts. With the switches and fixtures correctly wired, it's time to wire the main circuit panel. After stripping the incoming cable, connect the neutral and ground wires to their corresponding bus bars.

In a typical residential situation, this would complete the "rough-in" stage of the job. Electrical Wiring and Safety Switches. These link the switch to your light fixture.

To finish the circuit, connect the hot wire to a please click for source breaker, which itself is connected to the panel's hot bus. Using a volt-ohm meter set to read article, touch the probes to the various busses on the panel, and then change the position of the three-way switches for another reading.

A slight energy reading indicates the circuit is sound. Screw in the light bulb and plug in the exhaust fan. Flip the main breaker to Hook Up Three Way Light Switch the panel. Before flipping the branch circuit breaker, verify the current using the meter, this time set to volts. Hook Up Three Way Light Switch the reading well within perimeters, it's safe to flip on the branch circuit.

Sign up for weekly project ideas and advice from experts. Disconnect the Power and Install the Boxes Armed with a wiring diagram and the necessary tools, install the boxes that house the switches. Pro Tip For instructional purposes, the main circuit panel is located within this mock bathroom. Always turn off the power to the circuit before beginning any electrical work.

Use a tester to verify the power is disconnected. Run the Cable Snake the gauge non-metallic NM sheathed cables from the main panel, through pre-drilled holes in the studs and up to the boxes Image 1. Prep and Secure the Ground Wires Use a cable stripper to slit the cable's plastic insulation and peel it open Image 1. Splice the Neutral and Hot Wires With the ground wires secured, work on splicing the neutral white wires. Connect the Switches to Each Box With the hot, neutral and ground wires prepared, connect the switches to each box.

Wire the Fan and Fixture Wire the exhaust fan and recessed light fixture. Wire the Circuit Panel and Finish Installation With the switches and fixtures correctly wired, it's time to wire the main circuit panel. How to Make a Paper Airplane. How to Paint Laminate Kitchen Countertops. Disconnect the Power and Install the Boxes Step 2: Run the Cable Step 3: Prep and Secure the Ground Wires Step 4: Splice the Neutral and Hot Wires Step 5: Connect the Switches to Each Box Step 6: Wire the Fan and Fixture Step 7: Wire the Circuit Panel and Finish Installation.

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