Do three way switches bother you?

I’m with you two. I have one of those in my den and sometimes it bugs me when my fiance does it the “wrong way” but I’ve learned to pick my battles (and fix the switches myself, if it is really bugging me.) But I’d rather have it than have to walk through the room in the dark, tripping on furniture.

I want to take this opportunity to complain about companies like Leviton that feel the need to put their brand name on their switches. Three-way switches I don’t have a problem with, but c’mon, I don’t need to have “Leviton” pasted all over the front of my switch (which is why I didn’t buy their slider-dimmer) or have my bathroom fan with “BRAUN” written in big letters across it.

I’m trying to make my home look nice, not like a damn NASCAR vehicle!

He didn’t say what state 2 switches up would be. He only said that when all the switches are down, the lights are off. Which is how God intended.

At the house where I grew up, there was a three way switch to control the lights on the back stairs,(the ones that everyone used). Well two actually, one for the bottom, one for the top. Those lights spent a good percentage of the time burnt out for various reasons(It’d be dark otherwise!, plus, kids are lazy. So the bulbs would be burned out, and it would get my latent OC going when the switches were still up.

Still, in general, I like three way switches.

It kind of annoys me, but it’s not a huge weight on my mind or anything. What does bug me is that we’ve got two lights in our hallway, both with two-way switches, but one set has the switches reversed - that is, the front switch turns on the rear light and vice versa. And I can never remember which set of switches it is.

That I can understand. That is the fault of cheap electricians. I feel that the switches should always correlate to the locations of the lights. I take the time to do this with any of my own work. You can always tell the bid jobs because in a multi-switch box they didn’t label their wires so can’t tell which went to what light and just put the switches in in whatever order was convenient. You’d think after they power things up they’d go back and correct the positions, but no its off to the next job.

When we had our basement remodeled, our contractor chose the electrician because he liked that electrician’s quality of work. The electrician would, when putting on the faceplate, make sure all the slots in the screws were vertical. :cool:

He didn’t have any three way switches to wire, but I have no doubt they’d they’d be wired so that all down means off, and that any multi-switch boxes would be ordered sensibly.

Oh, that was a huge issue for me when I was selling dimmers and switches to the design market and none of the manufacturers get it. I once worked with a designer that made the electricians remove all manufacturer markings with files before he would accept the job.

And if the 3 way switches make you crazy they make electronic “tap style” switches that will eliminate the problem. Here’s an example:

It bothers me about as much as the toilet paper hanging in the wrong direction. It irritates a corner of my mind, and occasionally I will rouse myself to correct it, but most of the time I just deal with it. I’m a little bit OCD.

I guess because I grew up with them, it never occurred to me that they should bother me. I love the things.

Of course, the light switches in that house were the old push-button type. I think I just didn’t ever realize that a particular button was normally supposed to be “on” (or “off”).

I was going to post this link. Three-way switches being down with the light on or up with the light off are too annoying for me. We have the tap-style switches all through the house and they’re wonderful, except that we can hear the lights’ high-pitched hum when they’re not up all the way. It’s a small price to pay for the level of light control offered.

It doesn’t bother me at all. What DID bother me was in the house I grew up in there was a switch for the basement lights at both the house entry and the garage entry. When I was about 12 Dad replaced the switches for reasons I don’t recall. The problem was, now either switch would turn the lights on, but they could only be turned off from the same switch that turned them on. As a result, if you came in through the garage, through the basement and up into the house you then had to go back to the garage switch to turn the basement lights back off.

Dad spent a couple hours trying to figure it out then decided he could live with it. When he later replaced the switches at the top and bottom of the stairs leading to the top floor, he did the same thing with the same result. He just kept a flashlight at the top and bottom of the stairs. Go up with flashlight, turn on your bedroom light, bring the flashlight back down, go back upstairs guided by the light from your room. Golly, THAT was fun!

These “repairs” were done in 1982 or so. They were still in that state when Dad died in 2004.:rolleyes:

What’s a three way switch? I think I know what you’re talking about from the context, but I haven’t heard them called that. What are the three “ways”?

Being English, switch up/light off is a perfectly natural-looking combination as that is the norm in the UK.

Nice. There is one faceplate in our house where I cannot get the slot on the screw vertical. It’s snug at about 10 degrees below horizontal. An 80 degree turn to the left makes it unacceptably loose, and 100 degrees to the right I’m pretty sure would be so tight as to crack the faceplate (I’ve tried and I can only get it about 70 or 80 degrees before it feels too tight and starts making crackly noises).

What can I do? Is it the threading on the screw that is the problem? I’ve tried removing the screw completely and screwing it back in starting from different positions but I just can’t get that thing vertical. Maybe a new screw would work? Or, god forbid, is it the receptacle? Somebody, please help me!

You’re just going to have to suck it up, and make the slots horizontal.

The lesson in wiring being keep track of what wire was attached to the black screw. The other two are carriers and can be attached to either of the brass screws without issue. Wiring a three way incorrectly has results as mentioned.

I always set the screws either all horizontal or all vertical per switch plate making no true effort to be consistent throughout a building(though sometimes I’ll stay consistent in the same room). The first screw I tighten on a plate sets the standard by where the slot ends up at optimal tightness.

Personally I wish they’d just go to Phillips screws so I don’t need to carry a screwdriver specifically for switch plates and it would be easier to make them match.

Easiest possible solution is put a small washer on the screw behind the switch plate. This may cause the switch plate not to set flush depending on the box.
Replacing the switch or the switch plate screw could solve it too. Unfortunately its not all that predictable which potential solution would work.

Off-topic: around here we call them travelers. Is that a local thing or do you use that term as well in your area? It might be like wire nuts/marrettes. If you ask for a wire nut around here you’ll get nothing but a blank stare.[/hijack]

So, what do you do about kitchen appliances? Take them to auto body shops to get the brand names painted over in a color that matches the rest of the appliance? :smiley:

I’ve never seen switches with the brand name emblazoned in huge letters across the front, like the glowing brand name on some LCD televisions. I’ve seen the name on the back of the switch, of course, but it’s invisible to public view.