Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
    Andy Jarchow Guest

    Default two way switch question switch wont work unless the other is in a certain position?

    Hello all,

    While inspecting a home yesterday I was trying to figure out what function each wall switch has. Two switches I found operated the garage lights. One switch was in the garage and the other in the house. One of the switches would not work unless the other was in a certain position.

    Does this mean it is the wrong type of switch ie. 2way, 3way…? Or is this normal?

    Thank you

    mk

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: two way switch question switch wont work unless the other is in a certain positio

    It means that one of the two switches is wired incorrectly.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    2,778

    Default Re: two way switch question switch wont work unless the other is in a certain positio

    Yes, wired wrong, one option. Most likely & typical cause. The older switches do not look like the newer ones, ie. 1945 /1990. So people have a problem replacing them correctly.

    Bad switch is also possible.

    The actual wire usual not the problem.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: two way switch question switch wont work unless the other is in a certain positio

    Be careful reporting the repair process since this could very well involve an incorrect cable that would require running a new cable or wire. Two switches for one device needs two 3-way switches with two traveler wires between switches. Some older homes were wired wrong or someone tried to install 3-ways and failed to run the correct wire.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Re: two way switch question switch wont work unless the other is in a certain positio

    I most often find this where a dimmer has been installed. Always check operation in all combinations of switch settings.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
    Posts
    4,086

    Default Re: two way switch question switch wont work unless the other is in a certain positio

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Krueger View Post
    Hello all,

    While inspecting a home yesterday I was trying to figure out what function each wall switch has. Two switches I found operated the garage lights. One switch was in the garage and the other in the house. One of the switches would not work unless the other was in a certain position.

    Does this mean it is the wrong type of switch ie. 2way, 3way…? Or is this normal?

    Thank you

    mk
    Multiple location switching involves three-way switches, one at each end of the control path, if more locations within the run of the travelers, four way switches are installed in between the beginning and ending 3-way swtiches. (No "2-way" switches). 3-way and 4-way switches are not indicating (do not say "on/off").

    Generally, the symptoms you describe are usually attributed to either a wiring error, or having installed an incorrect switch (3-way and 4-way switches look similar - difference is an additional screw post).

    However, it may be that this is not a 3-way switch loop at all, it may be that there are two single throw switches in series - this is allowed, but can be confusing.

    If the garage is not attached, and is not otherwise electrified, except via the garage switch: it may be that the switch local to the garage is acting as the disconnect for the structure.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,252

    Default Re: two way switch question switch wont work unless the other is in a certain positio

    Several possibilities, including but not limited to:
    - bad switch
    - broken conductor (broken for various reasons, even a nail)
    - wired wrong
    - one switch is a single pole switch and not a 3-way switch
    - etc.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
    Andy Jarchow Guest

    Default Re: two way switch question switch wont work unless the other is in a certain positio

    Very helpful!

    Thank you all
    Have a great week
    mk


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: two way switch question switch wont work unless the other is in a certain positio

    Must be in series.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •