Three-way switches are preferred these days as they can control lights, dimmers, and receptacles from two different points. For example, a light bulb installed in your bedroom can be turned on or off not only from the bedroom but also from the kitchen or living room. Although in a small way, these switches do make your life easy and comfortable.
You can install these switches easily by yourself if you have the basic electric tools and skills. The materials required for this purpose are a sharp three way switch, insulated electrical cables, knife, wire strippers, black tape, and grounding screws.
Step 1: Wiring a three way switch, may require either a 14-3, or 12-3 w/ground cable. The selection of the cable size depends upon the load that will be pulled in the circuit. If you wish, you may consult an electrician or an electrical inspector to understand this. The 14-3 w/ground cable has three conductors. These are white, red, and black in color. All these cables are well insulated from the outside.
Step 2: Turn off the circuit breakers before you begin to wire. With the help of an electrical tester, confirm whether the supply of electricity in the circuits has been stopped or not. Ensure your safety and prevent mishaps by making sure that there is no electric current running in the circuit.
Step 3: A three way switch has three terminals. One of them will be marked as 'common'. The rest of the terminals will be marked as 'travelers'. You are supposed to hook the common terminal with a black or red wire. The black or red wire is also commonly known as hot wire. One of the travelers is meant to be hooked to the hot wire from the electrical source. The other traveler needs to be hooked to the hot wire from the fixture such as the light, ceiling fan, dimmer, etc.
Step 4: Next, hook the travelers of one switch to that of the other. You need not follow any particular order while doing this, but make sure that all the wires are fixed and hooked well.
Step 5: Make sure that you wrap black electrical tapes around the ends of all cables for safety purposes.
You must have noticed that wiring a three way switch is not a big deal. Replace the normal switches with them, and enjoy a life of comfort and ease.