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Old 08-19-2010, 08:08 AM   #1
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three way switch

Recently while doing carpentry in an older home (50 years), I came across a wiring scenario that puzzles me and I hope someone can enlighten me. The three bedrooms in this home all have a three way wall switch and no ceiling light. Power comes into the switch and a three wire apparently is fed to the six duplex devices in each room. My assumption was that this switch would activate the duplex devices or liven half the device. The problem is that the switch is live, both the top and bottom of the duplex is live regardless of the position of the switch and the brass tab on the duplex devices have not been removed. So the question is, why doesn't the circuit breaker trip and why would anyone wire a house where the switch is live but not liven a dplex device so the homeower MUST walk into a dark room and find the switch on a floor or table lamp???
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:35 AM   #2
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The breaker doesn't trip because there is no overload or short. The unbroken tabs are just over-riding the switch.

According to the NEC the bedrooms should have a switch controlled lighting outlet. Sounds like someone didn't follow the rules or didn't know any better.

You said the bedroom had 3 way switches. Does the bedroom have 2 entrances or is one near the door and the other near the bed?
Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:52 AM   #3
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Most likely someone change the duplex receptacles (possibly to make them three prong)and did not know enough to break the tabs.
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