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Electrical: 3-way switch


The Light switch for stairway would not turn on.  The Switch is a 3-way, and it could not be determined which switch was bad.  The switches were slowly going out over the last few months and finally went out.  The customer attempted to switch out one of the light switches.  When the wiring was complete and the customer turned the breaker back on, the breaker would trip when the switch was turned on.  The customer stopped and called Screw Loose? LLC



1) The customer purchased a single pole switch and needed a double pole (or 3-way) switch.

2) The customer had an older home with older wiring.  In this case, there was no ground wire, but the customer was hooking a free wire to the ground connection on the switch causing the breaker to keep tripping.


1)  purchase and install two, 3-way light switches

Hints and tips:

1) You can determine that you have a 3 way switch if the switch portion does not display “on/off”.  Also, there will be 3 wire terminals on the back, and the ground screw (green).  One of the screws will be a dark color.

2)  Always turn the breaker off when doing anything with you electricity

3)  Older homes without upgraded electrical systems typically do not have a ground wire.

4) 3-way switches are typically found in stairwells to provide the ability to turn lights on from both ends of the stairway

5)  General builder code states that stairways over 6 steps must provide lighting to each step.

6)  When dealing with electrical in your home, think safety first and call a professional.


If you have an issue like the one described above or just need some switches or outlets replaced in your home, click the “contact” tab to the right and let Screw Loose? LLC take care of the rest.


Thanks for your time, I hope this helps………………………………..

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