Don’t be zapped while fixing a three-way switch or replacing an old one with another. Although the work can be quite daunting, take caution as you stride down the boulevard of Electric Avenue and follow the advice of highly rated electrical contractors in Sacramento, CA. A three-way switch is a handy electrical convenience that facilitates light control from two different locations, such as the end and beginning of a staircase. If your switch does not have the words On or Off imprinted and it is one of two switches that can operate one light or a receptacle, then it is a three-way switch. The convenience switch derives its name from the fact it possesses three terminal screws.
To change a three-way switch, follow these easy steps:
- Put off the power that flows through the switch at the fuse or circuit panel.
The circuit board serves as the first point through which electricity goes through as it passes from the service entrance to the various areas in your house. The panel has the markings “On” and “Off” that control the power in the entire house. When doing electrical work in or around the house, it is always advisable to disconnect power by switch the fuse panel from on to off.
- Unscrew the switch plate and remove it; then test whether you still have power on the switch using a voltage tester.
Dealing with electricity requires caution owing to the danger such work poses. If there is power in the live wall fixture, it might cause serious bodily injuries. Testing if a fixture is live can be done with some mundanely found electrical appliances and should be done before commencing any work on any fixture. If you are in any doubt, consult an expert electrician. After unscrewing the switch from its box, pull it out while the wires are still on it.
- Take out the wires and Attach them to the new switch
Once you remove the wires from the three-way switch, connect the tagged ones to the corresponding terminals of the new switch. You may also choose to switch one wire at a time to ensure that you do not do the attachments wrongly. If you track where each wire goes, the electrical work of replacing an old three-way switch is any harder than fixing a new single-pole switch. However, if the wires do not have tags, it can be quite difficult to figure out the proper connections.
- Put the newly wired three-way switch back and wind up the electrical repairs job
If the current switch has a green ground wire, put the wire to the green screw terminal on the replacement switch. Place the newly wired three-way switch back to the electrical box and tighten it correctly. Finish the electrical repairs by screwing the three-way switch and turn the electricity on.
Once you have changed the old switch with a new one and the trim plate is in place, test the switch. If you identified and connected all the wires correctly, then the switch and light should work just well. Congratulations on an electrical job well done. If the switch does not work properly, you might have to call a qualified electrician to do the troubleshooting and electrical repair.