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Old 08-30-2011, 12:37 PM   #1
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Replacing multi-use light switches


I'm replacing several light switches in my mother-in-law's house to give it a more updated look (house is over 50 years old). I replaced the single light switches no problem, but the ceiling lights that are controlled by two switches is throwing me off. Right now, one of the two switches can turn it on and off, and if the other switch is in one position or another, the first switch doesn't work.

The other issue is with a switch that controls a wall outlet in another room, but that same wall outlet is also controlled by another switch. Again, same issue.

First, what is the correct type of switch or switches do I need for these scenarios. What is the wiring color scheme for these switches?

I'm so frustrated. My only success has been to accurately find the breaker to turn off the power to these switches.

Please help or direct me.

Thanks.

Jim

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Old 08-30-2011, 12:43 PM   #2
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Replacing multi-use light switches


Google 3 way switches.

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Old 08-30-2011, 12:49 PM   #3
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Replacing multi-use light switches


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Originally Posted by jimclark View Post
I'm replacing several light switches in my mother-in-law's house to give it a more updated look (house is over 50 years old). I replaced the single light switches no problem, but the ceiling lights that are controlled by two switches is throwing me off. Right now, one of the two switches can turn it on and off, and if the other switch is in one position or another, the first switch doesn't work.

The other issue is with a switch that controls a wall outlet in another room, but that same wall outlet is also controlled by another switch. Again, same issue.

First, what is the correct type of switch or switches do I need for these scenarios. What is the wiring color scheme for these switches?

I'm so frustrated. My only success has been to accurately find the breaker to turn off the power to these switches.

Please help or direct me.

Thanks.

Jim
You need 3-way switches. If you post which wires are coming into each box (both switch boxes and light) we can tell you how to terminate each wire. Or try google as sugessted.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:52 PM   #4
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Replacing multi-use light switches


In a 50 year old house you cannot count on a correct wire color code for 3 way switches. You needed to have labeled the wires before taking them off of the old switch. However experts can make an educated guess.

In every three way switch setup there is one raw hot wire (the feed) connected to the common terminal of one switch, two traveler wires connected to the traveler terminals (order does not matter) of the switches, and one switched hot wire connected to the common terminal of the other switch and going to the light fixture. The common terminal is customarily stained a darker color or has "C" engraved near it.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-30-2011 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:05 PM   #5
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Replacing multi-use light switches


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In a 50 year old house you cannot count on a correct wire color code for 3 way switches. You needed to have labeled the wires before taking them off of the old switch. However experts can make an educated guess.

In every three way switch setup there is one raw hot wire (the feed) connected to the common terminal of one switch, two traveler wires connected to the traveler terminals (order does not matter) of the switches, and one switched hot wire connected to the common terminal of the other switch and going to the light fixture. The common terminal is customarily stained a darker color or has "C" engraved near it.
Exactly! Although you don't need any wires labelled in order to figure it out. In each switch box, you'll either have one 3 wire, or 1 2 wire and 1 3 wire. Easy to hook up from there the way described above.
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