All about Three Way switch!

Have you ever come home tired, went to your room to sleep, forgot the lamp on and had to get up to turn off the light? So with a simple installation of a three-way switch this could have been avoided. In this article, we will show you all about the three-way switch, get to know the other types of switches and especially how to install a three-way switch, come on guys.

What is the switch?

The switch has the function of interrupting the electrical current of the circuit so that in homes the switches are used in lighting circuits. There are several types of switches such as a simple switch, double switch, triple switch, three-way (parallel) and four-way (intermediate).

Simple switch

The simple switch has the purpose of activating a lamp or set of lamps with only one point, it has two terminals, and in one terminal the electrical conductor is connected to the phase and in the other terminal the return conductor, which goes to the lamp. It is the most used switch in the resistances, for example, in bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, etc.

Double switch

The double switch has two sections and has the same principle as the single switch, it also only makes it possible to operate a single point lamp or lamp assembly. However, we can activate different lamps such as, for example, a house that has the kitchen combined with the dining room, we can use the double switch because it is possible to activate the kitchen or dining room lamp separately.

Triple switch

The triple switch has the same principle as the double switch, but with an additional section. Widely used in very large rooms and adjoining rooms. It is very common to use the triple switch in warehouses, as it can activate three groups of different lamps such as switching the front, middle or bottom of the house separately.

Three-Way (parallel)

The three-way switch, better known as a parallel switch, is used to activate a lamp or a group of lamps from two different points, for that it is enough to install two three-way switches in different points according to your preference, generally being used in corridors, stairs and yard.

Because they are located in two different points, the three-way switches offer greater comfort and practicality. The difference between the three-way switch for the single switch is the existence of a third terminal, which communicates between the two three-way switches or between the three-way switch and the four-way switch.

Four Way (intermediate)

The four-way switch, also known as the intermediate switch, must be connected between two three-way switches to function correctly and thus expanding the lamp activation points, making it possible to have three or more lamp activation points or lamp group being activated.

What is the difference between the switches?

The differences between the switches are defined by how many points you can turn on or off a lamp or set of lamps, by the number of terminals on the switch and sections. The single, double and triple switch make it possible to switch on or off a lamp from just one point. However, the double and triple switches have more sections than the single switch, thus triggering different lamp sections.

With the three way switch, you can activate the lamp from two different points, which is widely used in stairs and corridors. The three way switch is often mistaken for a triple switch, but they are very different, as the three way can activate lamps from different points and the triple switch does not allow the activation of different points, but different sections of lamps.

How to call a Three way?

The following example represents a room in a house, which already had a simple switch circuit for the lamp to operate, but for comfort the owner decided to install a three way circuit instead of the simple switch.

Simple switch electrical circuit.

In order to make any alteration or replacement of electrical circuits, it is necessary to hire a qualified electrician to perform these types of services, to make an analysis of your property and inform if you have the possibility to make the desired change, whether it will be necessary to pass new conduits and which electrical materials will be needed to make the change desirable. After that, installing the three way switch will be easy.

In the example property below, the installation has a  voltage  of 127 volts (phase and neutral). It was not necessary to pass new conduits, as the residence already had all the structure to install a three way switch. It was necessary to buy the conductors and two three way switches.

Electrical materials to install three way switch.

Let’s install! After purchasing the electrical materials, for security reasons, turn off the circuit breaker responsible for the lighting circuit. If there is no circuit separation on the property, the general circuit breaker must be turned off. Now remove the single switch and return the lamp from the circuit with single switch.

Removal of the simple switch.

It is necessary to install the three way switch in place of the simple switch. To do this, connect the phase conductor (red) to the central terminal of the three way switch (A).

Installing the three way switch.

The next step is to choose the best place to install the second three way switch (B), in the example the point beside the bed was defined. Then we must connect the first electrical conductor (brown 1), to the upper terminal of the three way switch (A), take the conductor to the second three way switch (B) and connect the conductor to the upper terminal of the three way switch (B) .

Then, a second electrical conductor (brown 2) must be connected to the lower terminal of the switch (A), take the second electrical conductor to the switch (B), and connect the conductor to the lower terminal of the three way switch (B).

Communication between the two three way switch.

To finish the circuit connection of the three way switches, it is necessary to connect an electrical conductor (yellow return) to the central terminal of the three way switch and connect it to the central terminal of the receptacle (socket or mouthpiece). After completing the installation, you can turn the circuit breaker back on, and it is now possible to operate the lamp from two different points.