Electrical

Electrical Questions? Ask an Electrician Online.

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

This answer was rated:

I have a 3 switches that control the same light, I think…

Hi there - I...

Hi there - I have a 3 switches that control the same light, I think that's called a 4-way switch set up -- I want to eliminate two of the switches so only one switch operates the light, can you help me understand what I need to do?

Contractor's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. How long have you been dealing with this?

I just started working on it but it seems to be more complicated than removing just a single 3-way switch

Contractor's Assistant: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?

I'm hoping to do it right now, yes

Contractor's Assistant: Anything else we should know to help you best?

I looked at each of the light switches -- the 4-way switch has 2 black wires and 2 red wires, one of the 3-way switches has a black a red and a white, and the other 3-way switch (this is the one I want to remain active) has 2 blacks and a red

Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Answered in 3 minutes by:
3/13/2018
David Bowden
David Bowden, Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1,161
Experience: Owner at Floridaco
Verified

Hello and welcome to Just Answer… My name is ***** ***** allow me a few moments while I do some research, my recommendation will appear shortly.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

In order for the light to work from any of the 3 locations, you need to do so rewiring so you have a total of 3 wires

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

You will need a voltage/ohm meter to do this.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thanks for your help, David. I have a non-contact AC voltage detector -- is that sufficient?

Needs to have Ohm capability in order to identify the wires as you will need to make sure you have them correct. You can do it with a voltage only tester but that will require the circuit remaining live.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

Where are you planning on controlling the light from, either of the 3 way switch locations or the 4 way switch location?

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
i want to control the light from just one of the 3-way switch locations (the one with the 2 black wires and 1 red wire). The other 3-way location and the 4-way location i'd like to disable.

Forget color for now... It would be best to discuss this over the phone as there will be too much to type back and forth

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
i understand, thanks david - i just don't have a meter with ohm capability on me, but i'm checking a couple of hardware stores nearby to see if i can pick one up and be back in the next hour or so - i think a phone call may be more productive for me if i have that ohm meter

Okay if you would like to try without the Ohm meter we can get started doing a couple of things until it gets time to use the Ohm meter, plus you will need several wire nuts and maybe wire strippers.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
if that's something we can handle now online before the call, that sounds like a good plan - i do already have wire nuts and wire strippers

I would also like to see a few photos of the switches and wires before you start removing them

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
i did already remove the switches unfortunately, but i can describe how each of the 3-way switches were wired if that helps. i can also send pics of the switches and the wires.

Just the open boxes and an idea of where you want to control the light from and familiarization of the layout. That way when I start advising it will be easier for both of us.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
understood. I have each of the boxes open, and i am familiar with the layout of each, and I know which box I want to control the light from, and which ones I want to shut down.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Is there anything else I can do before requiring the ohm meter? And can you tell me if this product will provide the functionality I need? https://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-Tools-Electrical-Test-Kit-69149/204367271

Sorry Internet went down...

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

Please upload some photos so I can see what I am advising, thanks

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

That tester is a dual voltage/Ohm meter so it will work fine.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Hi David, I'm attaching 3 pictures.#1 is the 4-way switch i want to disable, there were 2 black wires and 2 red wires running into the switch, coming from two bundles of wires in the box. Each bundle had one red wire and one black wire that went into the switch.#2 is the 3-way switch I want to disable. It has a black wire, a red wire and a white wire that were connected to it, and all 3 of those wires are coming out of the same bundle in the wall. the taped wire (the white wire, black tape) was the one connected to the dark screw on the switch. the other wires were connected to golden screws.#3 is the 3-way switch i want to keep operational to turn the light on and off. it had 3 wires connected to it -- 2 reds and one black. the red one with the piece of tape was connected to the dark screw and is coming out of one bundle of wires in the box. the other red and black wires were connected to golden screws and are coming out of another bundle in the box.

O​n the 4 way switch if both reds are in different Romex's then simply connect red to red and black to black.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

T​hose wires are referred to as travelers, so connecting them makes them a continuous wire without being broken.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

O​n the switch you want to keep the red wire with the black tape, test that wire to ground and see if you get 120v and let me know

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

It's late here so I will be signing off, will contact you tomorrow to resume.

Dave

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thanks David, just got back home with the voltage meter, I’ve never used one before so might need a hand - what’s a good time to contact you tomorrow?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Hey David, for tomorrow - I tested the red to ground on the switch I want to keep and got no voltage, so I tested the other 3-way switch (pic #2) and got 120 volts from the white with tape to the ground wire, I think that means I need to keep switch #2 instead of #3?

T​he white wire is the "hot" wire and we can keep the switch you want. I will be back later today and we can get going. Did you already connect the reds and blacks in the 4 way? send me some photos so I can see progress. Thanks

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

O​n the switch you want to keep, move the black wire out of the way, then temporarily connect the "hot" white wire to the black, then see if the black on the switch you want to keep has 120v to ground. Let me know

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
sir 120v now at the black wire on the other switch

T​ha't the switch you want to keep correct? If so connect the white to the black with wire nut

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

Perfect...

Test the red wire with the black tape to ground and let me know what voltage you get.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Red wire with black tape to ground shows no voltage

Ok touch the red wire with black tape to the "hot " wire and see if the light comes on

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
It popped on for a split second and then the breaker tripped

Okay so that wire has a short, disconnect the wires and turn the breaker back on.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

You will most likely need to open the light fixture up so we can see what wires are going to it.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
What if I was okay keeping the other 3-way switch operational (the one with the white “hot” wire) and closing off this one instead? That would be just as good honestly, if it eliminates some of the trouble

Then you would need to disconnect the black wire from the white and then touch the white to the red and see if the light comes on

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Okay I connected the white “hot” wire to the red — the breaker doesn’t trip, but the light remains off. I then walked back to the other 3-way switch, the red wire WITHOUT the tape is showing 120v to ground

O​kay I'll be able to continue in about an hour

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

Okay I'm back

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

I am back online if you want to continue...

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

Greetings… Just following up to see if you were still needing some help answering your question?

Thanks,

Dave

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

Hello... I would very much appreciate if you can take a few moments and reply to this email and let me know if you still require assistance, or should I proceed forward to closing out this question since it has been open for so long.

Thank you,

Dave

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

Hello...

I am not sure if you have been receiving my follow up messages regarding this question however, if you would be so kind as to please respond and let me know if the information I provided initially was helpful or if you still require some assistance, I would sincerely ***** ***** that way I can either continue helping you or forward this to customer support for further processing.

Thank you very much,

Dave

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

I was reviewing my open questions list and noticed this one has not been answered or replied to. Did you still need help with it or should it go back to customer service for proper processing?

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

Hello, I was reviewing my open questions and noticed this one has not been replied too, however I did respond with an answer back on March 12, 2018 and therefore I am wondering if that has resolved the problem you were experiencing. I would greatly appreciate a reply email, so I can complete this open question, or just let me know if you need further assistance, and I can continue to look for another solution.

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

Hello... I would very much appreciate if you can take a few moments and reply to this email and let me know if you still require assistance, or should I proceed forward to closing out this question since it has been open for so long.

Thank you,

Dave

Ask Your Own Electrical Question

Hello... As part of our continuous follow up procedures, every open question requires it to be closed out once it has gone past a reasonable time, and that the expert has provided an answer that should have helped resolve your question. This can be done simply by completing the 5 Star Rating once it appears. If you still require assistance or have additional questions, you can let the expert know by replying to this posting that you still need their advice and recommendations.

Thank you,

Dave

David Bowden
David Bowden, Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1,161
Experience: Owner at Floridaco
Verified
David Bowden and 87 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now

Thank you very much for the positive rating, I sincerely ***** ***** If you need further assistance or help with another question, just let me know.

Best,

Dave

Ask Your Own Electrical Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with an electricianLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask David Bowden Your Own Question
David Bowden
David Bowden
David Bowden, Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1,161
1,161 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Owner at Floridaco

David Bowden is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

You did one super job of explaining to me everything there is to know about this fridge. I'm looking forward to asking you questions in the future.

JimmyBagley, IA

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know.

RobinElkton, Maryland

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Mike

Mike

Master Electrician

1,426 satisfied customers

Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer

Jason

Jason

Service Technician

3,958 satisfied customers

Over 20 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.

Mike G.

Mike G.

Master Electrician

8,196 satisfied customers

Proven Professional 49 years Experience

Kevin

Kevin

Licensed Electrical Contractor

4,345 satisfied customers

31 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License

AssuredElectrical

AssuredElectrical

Master Electrician

3,264 satisfied customers

Contractor-42+ Years in the ElectricalTrade

electrifier

electrifier

Master Electrician

1,458 satisfied customers

Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise

Rich

Rich

Master Electrician

1,117 satisfied customers

Over 35 years residential, commercial, industrial wiring, install, troubleshoot, service, maintain

< Previous | Next >

Related Electrical Questions
I am remodeling a bathroom. There is a light over the sink
I am remodeling a bathroom. There is a light over the sink which is controlled by two switches, one at each doorway. There is another light and vent fan which is operated by a separate switch in anoth… read more
Mike G.
Mike G.
Master Electrician
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
8,196 satisfied customers
Im trying to connect a GE 15086 timer to a single pole switch.
I'm trying to connect a GE 15086 timer to a single pole switch. In the wall are three black wires (2 from one tube & 1 from another), white wires and a ground. I know that I need to connect the white … read more
AssuredElectrical
AssuredElectrical
Master Electrician
High School or GED
3,264 satisfied customers
I have two lighting circuits, opposite phases, controlled by
I have two lighting circuits, opposite phases, controlled by a DPST switch. How can I add another switch for 3-way operation?… read more
Mike G.
Mike G.
Master Electrician
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
8,196 satisfied customers
I have a 4-way switch situation that I would like to bring
I have a 4-way switch situation that I would like to bring down to 1 single pole. I plan to put a time on the single pole.… read more
Michael Dean
Michael Dean
Antiques and Collecting
103 satisfied customers
I have two ceiling fans with lights that are controlled by
I have two ceiling fans with lights that are controlled by one single pole switch for the fans and two 3 ways switches for the lights. I was changing the switches for a cosmetic reason and somehow mes… read more
AssuredElectrical
AssuredElectrical
Master Electrician
High School or GED
3,264 satisfied customers
2 Switches, 2 lights, 12-3 and a fun, vexing challenge
2 Switches, 2 lights, 12-3 and a fun, vexing challenge Hi friends. I can't find anyone who says this would work, but for the past 4 years, I had 2 working 3-way switches that controlled 2 lights. I wa… read more
Mike G.
Mike G.
Master Electrician
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
8,196 satisfied customers
I found a 1/2 hp 1 phase dual voltage Sun bench grinder, model
I found a 1/2 hp 1 phase dual voltage Sun bench grinder, model S5006. 110 volt wiring diagram shows connect #1 R and #4 B to one side and #2 Y and #3 G to the other. The switch has two positions on/of… read more
AssuredElectrical
AssuredElectrical
Master Electrician
High School or GED
3,264 satisfied customers
Id like to remove a 3 ways switch from a circuit (replace
I'd like to remove a 3 ways switch from a circuit (replace with a blank cover) and have a single switch be the one controlling flow of power. What changes to I need to make to the wiring in the blanke… read more
AssuredElectrical
AssuredElectrical
Master Electrician
High School or GED
3,264 satisfied customers
I have a three way switched light. I want to replace one of
I have a three way switched light. I want to replace one of the switches with a single pole timer. This will necessitate eliminating/bypassing the other switch. An electrician did this already for me … read more
Alex
Alex
Owner
Bachelor\u0027s Degree
1,783 satisfied customers
I have a four way set up. Three inside switches controlling
I have a four way set up. Three inside switches controlling all of my outside lights. The switch closest to the panel has a two wire set up with a short red wire jumping between the black and white wi… read more
AssuredElectrical
AssuredElectrical
Master Electrician
High School or GED
3,264 satisfied customers
I currently have a 4-way switch setup, with 2 3-way switches
I currently have a 4-way switch setup, with 2 3-way switches and a 4-way switch in between. I would ultimately like to eliminate 2 of the switches, converting them to junction boxes, and covert the ot… read more
Alex
Alex
Owner
Bachelor\u0027s Degree
1,783 satisfied customers
I tried to replace my old light switches in the garage. on
I tried to replace my old light switches in the garage. on one wall was a switch outlet combo that switch runs to the outside light. Right next to it was a switch that worked the ceiling light - at th… read more
Alex
Alex
Owner
Bachelor\u0027s Degree
1,783 satisfied customers
Handy novice here. How do I install my leviton decora motion
Handy novice here. How do I install my leviton decora motion activated light control into 4-way switches? Sorry that I don't know proper terminology (or how to translate the diagram that was provided)… read more
Mike G.
Mike G.
Master Electrician
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
8,196 satisfied customers
I have 2 lines of 12/2 coming from a 4 way light switch. How
I have 2 lines of 12/2 coming from a 4 way light switch. How do I hook it up to a 12/3 with 2 - 3 way switches with the power and lights coming to the same box. Other words all the wires are coming in… read more
Sir Sparks
Sir Sparks
Owner
State & UK Certified Master electri
2,519 satisfied customers
Hello - I am replacing a ceiling fan with a Hampton bay
Hello -3-way ceiling fan switch question. I am replacing a ceiling fan with a Hampton bay model, and purchased the wall mount control model 191-707. On the control wires the tags say "Do not connect t… read more
electrifier
electrifier
Master Electrician
Bachelor's Degree
1,458 satisfied customers
I am trying to install 2 new light timers. The timers have
I am trying to install 2 new light timers. The timers have 4 colored wires, black,red, green & white. The electrical box has 2 wires, black & red. There is a ground brass wire attached to a seperate l… read more
Mike
Mike
Master Electrician
Working on MBA
1,426 satisfied customers
I have a single switch downstairs operating 4light fixtures,
I have a single switch downstairs operating 4light fixtures, and I want to change it to a 3way and add a 3way switch upstairs. The upstairs 3way has 3-wire cable and ground from it to the last fixture… read more
Sir Sparks
Sir Sparks
Owner
State & UK Certified Master electri
2,519 satisfied customers
I bought a leviton 5224 switch to operate a light and a fan
I bought a leviton 5224 switch to operate a light and a fan separetly installed as the one i removed. only the bottom switch works for both items. whats wrong?… read more
Rich
Rich
Master Electrician
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
1,117 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x