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Old 11-01-2010, 12:40 AM   #1
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Light wiring


I have a light switch on the main floor located near the upstairs/downstairs stairway that turns on/off the light on the main floor hallway. Located exactly to that point, but on the top floor, I have another switch that acts to turn on/off the fan on the top floor.

Is it safe to assume that I can add a switch to these wires on the top floor that will turn on/off the light in the hallway on the main floor? Currently there is no such switch, you have to come down the stairs in the dark in order to turn on the light.

i believe the wire goes all the way up and then back down....but how can I know without taring down the walls to see?

I'm hoping that the switch upstairs contains a set of capped wires, which I could uncap and put a switch on. I'm assuming the wire powering the fan upstairs is the same that is powering the light on the main floor.

Does that make sense in terms of wiring procedures?
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:05 AM   #2
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Light wiring


Why would you assume you have capped (spare) wires in the upstairs that switch that go down stairs. I would bet the odds are less than 1%. Open ip the boxes and see what you have. My bet is that you will have to run a 3 wire cable between the old and new switch location.
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Old 11-01-2010, 06:20 AM   #3
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Light wiring


I am with rjniles. I see it unlikely that there is wiring in place that would allow the installation of a three-way switch at the top of the stairs.

There is a potential that some of the home automation (either powerline or RF communication) could solve this problem. So long that you have neutrals in each box, you can install these switches and electronically link them together. There are a couple of pitfals that could complicate the decision a bit (are both switches on the same circuit? On the same leg/phase? Metal boxes?). Otherwise, this is a pretty straight-forward problem for these types of devices.

I use insteon, but you could check out UPB, Z-wave, or even X-10. There is a downside, however. Once you try these devices, you can easily become addicted. You may feel compelled to add more automation to your house, spending the next two years replacing dumb light switches with smart ones.
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:41 AM   #4
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Light wiring


What are the chances that the cable that runs to the outlet switch on the main floor to the light on the main floors runs through the attic and down the wall (near the upstairs switch).....they are almost identical in the spot where they are (just that one is on the main floor and the other is on the top floor). Then I could simply cut this cable and install a switch?
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:52 AM   #5
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Light wiring


"What are the chances that the cable that runs to the outlet switch on the main floor to the light on the main floors runs through the attic and down the wall (near the upstairs switch).....they are almost identical in the spot where they are (just that one is on the main floor and the other is on the top floor). "

Slim & none

"Then I could simply cut this cable and install a switch?"

And how would you get the slack to install a box. And even if the cable were in that location you would not have enough conductors to install a 3 way switch.


While it would be nice for you not to have to run a new cable, I think you are whistling in the dark.

Or go with a home automation solution as suggested.
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