Light switch wiring is apparently one of the easiest electrical projects that nearly every homeowner can carry out by himself. It is a general installation project that only requires little electrical knowledge. There are four distinct types of light switches, including the three, four-way switches, the single pole switches as well as the dimmers. Each type of light switch comes with its advantages and disadvantages and based on your personal needs; you can always install the best light switch as recommended by your local electrician Sydney. So today in this particular post, we want to discuss in excruciating details, all you need to know regarding the three-way wall light switches. Peruse through the article and enhance your electrical knowledge.
Typically, a three-way light switch is a variation of the conventional single-pole switch and it allows the user to control the ceiling light or any other type of electrical fixture from two or more varied locations within the room. Usually, a standard switch features only two connections and typically cuts the flow of electric current through the switch itself. However, a three-way switch boasts of three connections which are used in tandem. This implies that instead of stopping the flow of electric current within them, they transmit the electrical energy to either one or more connectors. Three-way switches practically make it possible to regulate a light from multiple locations such as the bottom of a stairway, top of the stairway and both ends of a long hallway. Simply put, these types of light switches feature additional connections which allow the circuit to be regulated from various locations or points.
The unique features of a three-way light switch
By carefully examining the three-way light switch, you will realise that there are lots of visible differences when compared to their single-pole light switch counterparts. First and foremost, you’ll notice the casing of a typical three-way light switch wiring is comparatively bulkier and thicker. Besides, the switch toggle lever usually does not feature the OFF/ON marking which is familiar with the single-pole switches. These are just some of the notable differences.
Based on electrical terms though, experts explain that the vast difference between a three-way light switch and the other types of switches lies on the screw terminals on both switches. Whereas the conventional light switch comes equipped with two screw terminals on one part of the switch and a third green screw for grounding connection to the metal strap, a three-way switch boats of an additional screw terminal. On most occasions, the extra screw terminal available in three-way electrical wiring switches is relatively darker as compared to the other terminals.
This additional screw terminal is referred to as the switch’s common connection point. Its primary purpose is to provide or transfer the electrical current from the circuit breaker box to the other switches or the lighting fixtures. The other screw terminals on a three-way light switch are usually brass-coloured and are utilised to create a connection between the circuit cables that run between the two three-way outlets. They are referred to as traveller terminals, whereas the wires which run between the switches are called traveller cables.
Is it possible to install three-way light switches on your own?
It is imperative to note that these types of switches are usually difficult to install and this implies that you’ll need the electrician‘s assistance of a highly-trained electrician. One of the most common issues you are likely to experience during the DIY wiring process is arguably improper wiring. Simply put, you can easily connect the circuit wires to the wrong screw terminals. It is somehow easy to get mixed up when trying to replace three-way light switches and this is perhaps because the colour coding in the latest light switch devices is quite different from the previous standard colour coding. To avoid this type of confusion, it is widely accepted that you should first mark all your wires, especially before you disconnect the old ones.
Are three-way light switches prone to mechanical problems?
Just like any other type of electrical equipment, switches are equally subject to a number of mechanical issues. With time, the connections may get loose, and the switches may also fail as a result of normal wear and tear.
What are the potential benefits of installing three-way light switches?
Three-way light switches offer certain advantages. Thanks to their functionality, they can be installed in stairwells, hallways, moderately larger bathrooms as well as in other large rooms where you may want to regulate your lights from multiple points.
Secondly, this kind of switches can use together with the so-called eco-friendly energy saving bulbs, a functionality that is usually not possible when working with the other light switches, including dimmer switches.