How to Wire Two Switches to One Light Fixture

Wiring two switches to one light fixture adds convenience to any room with two entryways. Also known as three-way switching, the job calls for a pair of special three-way switches and an appropriate length of 14-3 conductor cable to join the switches together. Once you pull the 14-3 cable and the circuit power source wires from the switch boxes to the light fixture, it's time to make the proper connections. You can do the work with the right tools, materials and basic electrical know-how.

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A light fixture can operate with two switches in different locations.

Step 1

Turn off the power to the light circuit at the main panel. Tag or otherwise mark the circuit breaker to alert others of the work you are doing.

Step 2

Cut 4 inches of sheathing from the ends of all the cables with a utility knife.

Step 3

Strip 3/4 inches of insulation from each of the insulated wires with the wire strippers.

Step 4

Bend an open end loop in the ends of all the insulated wires at both switches with the needle-nose pliers.

Step 5

Connect the red insulated wire from the 14-3 cable to the dark colored terminal screw on the lower right side of the first switch. Tighten the terminal screw clockwise with the appropriate head screwdriver.

Step 6

Connect the white wire from the 14-3 cable to either of the two remaining terminals on the switch. Tighten the terminal screws.

Step 7

Connect the black wire from the 14-3 cable to the remaining terminal and tighten the screw.

Step 8

Connect the red insulated wire from the 14-3 cable to the dark colored terminal screw on the lower right side of the second switch. Tighten the terminal screw with a screwdriver.

Step 9

Connect the white wire from the 14-3 cable to either of the two remaining terminals and tighten the screw.

Step 10

Connect the black wire from the 14-3 cable to the remaining terminal. Tighten the screw.

Step 11

Connect the two red wires from the two switches together with a wire nut. Tighten the nut clockwise.

Step 12

Connect the two white wires from the switches using a wire nut.

Step 13

Connect the black wire from the circuit power source and the black wire from the first switch with a wire nut.

Step 14

Connect the white wire from the circuit power and the white wire from the light fixture with a wire nut.

Step 15

Connect the black wire from the light fixture and the black wire from the second switch with a wire nut.

Step 16

Connect the bare copper ground wire from the circuit power source to the green grounding wire of the light fixture with a wire nut.

Step 17

Wrap electrical tape clockwise around each wire nut connection. Cover the wire nut overlapping onto the wires. Also wrap tape over the switch terminals.

Step 18

Install the two switches and the light fixture into their respective boxes.

Step 19

Restore electrical power and remove all tags or markings from the main panel.

Step 20

When attaching the looped wires to the switches, keep the open end of the loop to the right. This practice maintains the loop form when the terminal screw is tightened.