How to Wire a 3-Way Switch

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The 3 way switch allows a person to turn off and on a light from two different locations. For example, you may have a dining room that has two separate entrances. It is more efficient to be able to control the lighting from two separate points. For this convenience, the three-way switch was developed. It is actually quite standard in most newer homes where hallways or multiple entrance rooms are located.

On this website we tell you all about how 3 way switches work and illustrate their various configurations. It is assumed that you have some rudimentary knowledge about safety, how to strip, cap and splice wires. To navigate this site, simply click on a specific subject on the navbar at the top of this page or the table of contents below. Alternatively, to traverse this site in the manner in which it was intended, click on the "next page" link at the bottom of each page.

The three way switch is not really a complicated device. Although it seems like a mysterious series of boxes, it is based on some very simple ideas.

Light - Switch - Switch supposes that the source goes to the light and the switches are at the end of the circuit.

Switch - Light - Switch has the light between the two switches, the second switch then is the last box on the circuit.

Switch - Switch - Light shows the source coming into the first switch, through the second and the light at the end of the circuit.

Finally Switch - Switch - Light - Circuit should be studied if the circuit continues after the light and its switches.

The diagrams and explanations should cover most situations that will arise in the average 3-way switch wiring job. If you are simply wiring a standard switch visit our affiliated site on How to Wire a Switch. If your job is more complicated than those described here, you may wish to contact a professional. For some humor about electrical work and remodeling check out my book How Not to Build an Addition.

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