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Old 09-11-2011, 02:43 PM   #1
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Replacing old switches


I am in the process of replacing old switches around the house. Everything has gone well until I got to this one switch in my living room.

I have 2 sets of switches, each contain 4 3-way switches in my living room, one set near the front door and one set near the hallway. They both control a set of recessed lighting in my living room and they allow you to control the lighting from either set of switches (standard 3-way functionality). 7 of the 8 switches use a standard 3-way switch having 3-screws for 3 wires. One of the switches has 4-screws and 4-wires and I'm at a loss for what I can do. I was able to find a similar switch like that at home depot (4-pole 3-way?) but it does not match the brand\styling of my existing switches so I do not want to use it. Is it possible to combine or not use one of the wires going to the switch so I can use my standard 3-screw switches?

Thanks in advance

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Old 09-11-2011, 03:02 PM   #2
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Replacing old switches


Sounds like a 4 way switch. Did you have 3 switches that operated the same fixture?

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Old 09-11-2011, 03:06 PM   #3
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Replacing old switches


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Sounds like a 4 way switch. Did you have 3 switches that operated the same fixture?
Yes, I just realized that the switch in question controls the main set of lights which can also be controlled in 2 other locations by 3-way switches. There is a switch for them by the dining room, front door (switch in question), and hallway. So what I need is a four-way switch and there is no way to use a three way? The other 2 switches for these lights were just 3-way, I guess this is the main switch where the circuit starts or something?
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:12 PM   #4
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Replacing old switches


4-way switches are used in the middle of the circuit. You can’t substitute a 3-way for a 4-way and have it work correctly.

Pay attention to the current wiring on the 4-way, and be sure to look at the instructions of the new 4-way. Not all replacements wire up the same way. Some are wired top to bottom, some side to side.
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:21 PM   #5
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Replacing old switches


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4-way switches are used in the middle of the circuit. You canít substitute a 3-way for a 4-way and have it work correctly.

Pay attention to the current wiring on the 4-way, and be sure to look at the instructions of the new 4-way. Not all replacements wire up the same way. Some are wired top to bottom, some side to side.
Yes, I learned this the hard way in my dining room. The old dimmer switch\box had wires hanging out of it and the new one had screws that were colored. I disconnected the old one not realizing the nightmare it would be to get connected correctly. An hour later I had it working after probably 10-15 trips to the breaker box in my basement. Thanks for the help
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