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skyhigh82 03-23-2009 08:56 AM

Add a separate switch to a 3way circuit
40 yro home, in the stairwell I have a three way switch at the base of the steps and at the top of the steps going to one light in the upstairs hallway. I want to replace the current light with 2 recessed lights and add a third light on a separate switch that lights up the stair landing from the second floor ceiling to the landing on the first floor. Is there a way to use the power from the existing threeways for the new threeway that will light the landing? If not I would have to figure out a way to run new wiring from the attic to the base of the stairs on the first floor. I want to be able to just turn on the landing light and not the whole upstairs hallway.

rgsgww 03-23-2009 10:47 AM

First of all, you need to find everything powered by this circuit and make sure its not overloaded (15 amp=1875 watts, 20amp=2400watts)

Decide what wire your going to use, 14 awg= 15 amp, 12= 20 amp.

How/is this circuit grounded?

You need to trace wires, where does the power enter the switch loop, and where does it leave? Sketch this down on paper.

Is it easy to access from above?

AllanJ 03-23-2009 11:09 AM

Two separate projects.

First project, converting the single light to two recessed lights. Easy not counting the cutting open of the ceiling and the fishing of wires. Remove the old single light and connect wires from its old wires to the two new lights.

Second project. You need to find out where the power comes in to feed the existing light and its switches. From the power entry point build on a new sub-circuit with the landing light and one regular switch or a three way switch setup. It is possible you will need to remove an existing junction box and replace it with one that is bigger to hold all of the new connections, for example where the original single fixture was.

To use 20 amps where previously there was 15 amps you must make sure all the wires throughout the circuit (perhaps a complete brand new strung circuit) are 12 gauge.

If you string a new circuit for the new light while keeping the old lights on the old circuit, do not tie together the neutrals of the two circuits at boxes for example if switches for both are in the same new 2 gang box you installed. But do tie together all ground wires wherever they come together.

skyhigh82 03-23-2009 11:21 AM

Once I find out I'll attach a drawing.

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