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Adding a Light Fixture to 3 Way Switches

How to Wire 3-Way Master and Slave Switches – A comprehensive,step-by-step guide designed to walk you through the identification and wiring of your 3-way switches.


Solution for Adding a Fixture to Existing 3-Way Switches

Electrical Question: I have three way switches at the top and bottom of my stairs. There is a light at the top of the stairs controlled by the switches and I wish to add a light at the bottom. A 14/2 runs first to the light at the top (hot and neutral from the breaker), then a 14/2 runs to the switch at the top (hot supply and switched hot back to the light), and a 14/3 runs between the switches (travelers and switched return). It would be very difficult to run a new 14/2 (switched hot and neutral) from the light upstairs to the light downstairs, but it is easy to run a 14/2 from the downstairs light to the switch box downstairs.I want to know if it is acceptable to connect the hot switched from the downstairs 3 way to the light and run a separate neutral to the breaker box, or another nearby circuit’s neutral.

Skill level: electrical engineer and homeowner, but not an electrician. I know how to not burn the house down, but don’t know the electrical code.

This electrical wiring question came from: James, a homeowner from Malden, Massachusetts
Additional Comments: Website is great

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question James.

How to Wire 3-Way Master and Slave Switches

Application: Wiring 3-Way Light Switches.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the lighting circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional 3-way switch wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Materials: Make sure replacement 3-way light switches have the same amperage and voltage rating as the original three way light switch, and is the switch is fully compatible with the electrical circuit, the light fixture and the type of light bulbs being used.

The following article may be very helpful for this project:

I need 4-way wiring diagram using master dimmer & companion dimmer & 1 4-Way rocker switch Continue reading


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In response to the requests for this information, I have developed a comprehensive,step-by-step guide designed to walk you through the identification and wiring of your 3-way switches.

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Electrical Code Directory covering AFCI circuit, electrical-boxes, electrical-circuit, electrical-code-outlets, electrical GFCI, electrical-grounding, electrical-project, electrical-services, electrical-underground, electrical-wiring, electrical-wiring-code, lighting-code, smoke-detector,
3 Way Switch Diagram
3 Way Switch Diagram
3 Way Switch Diagram
In response to the requests for this information, I have developed a comprehensive,step-by-step guide designed to walk you through the identification and wiring of your 3-way switches.


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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.


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