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Tim Carter, of http://www.AsktheBuilder.com, demonstrates how to wire a three way switch.
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Three-way switches are convenient things. You probably have them in your home, you know what I am talking about. A switch where you can turn off a set of lights here and walk across the room to another switch and turn them right back on.
A lot of people think that three-way switches are confusing but if you had x-ray vision and could look behind the wall, this is exactly what you would see. The first thing you need to know about three-way switches is that they are vastly different from an ordinary switch.
A regular what we call single pole switch where just one switch turns the light on and off, it has just two screws on it and sometimes you will find it, it will have the green ground screw, almost all the switches have that.
But a three-way switch look at it, it has got four screws on it and then if you look even a little closer you will going to find that one of the screws is painted black. That is very important to know because this black screw that is where the power comes into the first three-way switch and then at the second three-way switch that is where the power goes out to the light fixture.
Make sure that when you make the loop in the wire that you are bending it a clockwise fashion as you look at it and insert it behind the head of the screw so that when you turn the screw it closes up the loop. I have built a circuit and here it is. Here is where the cable comes from the circuit breaker panel, it is the one that has got three wires in it remember.
You can see that the black wire from that cable is attached to the first black screw in the first switch. The brass screw gets attached to the red wire that goes between the two three-way switches and the other brass screw you attach the black wire in that same wire going to the other three-way switch.
The white wires and the ground wires of course wire them together and they just kind of pass on through the system. As we get to the other three-way switch look what happens? The red wire attaches to a brass screw, the black wire attaches to a brass screw and that last black screw what happens that is where you attach your black wire that finally goes to your light fixture, it is that simple.
Are you confused yet? I can see why, if you do it everyday three-way switches make sense but if you are going to tackle it, you know what you should probably do here is a bright idea call an electrician.
I am Tim Carter from Ask the Builder. If you want to discover more home improvement tips, go to AskTheBuilder.com.