Light switch problem

I have a wall switch that is not working right.
The switch should work like this: push the button and light turns on. Push it again and light turns off. It's a three way switch imho. It is also the only switch to the light in question that I know of.
Now the switch works a bit strange. When I press it the light turns on. When I press it again the light does NOT turn off. Multiple press and nothing happens. I let the switch be for about ten minutes and the tried to turn off. The light turned off like it should. This is how it works now: it will turn off only after some time passes.
I switched power from mains and examined the switch. I appears OK and looks just like a simple switch. I pulled out another three way switch is is identical and works OK. The wires were connected identically although.
Leaving the switch off with neutral and hot wires dangling in the air I turned mains on. Suprisingly the lights were on!
What could be the problem? The switch is probably broken but how come the light could be on when the hot and neutral were cut off??
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Could be theres another switch that you don't know about, I had a light in my living room that would not turn on at all with the switch. Checked the bulbs GOOD, pulled the chain, nothing flipped the switch , Nothing, back and forth from switch to chain, still nothing. Then one day, I happen to be going down to the basment, flipped the switch next to the basment light switch and guess what, the damn living room lights came on. What the H*LL, the living room is two rooms away from the basment door! BTW, we just bought the house in DEC.
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Is this a low voltage relay system? It sounds as though the relay is getting hung up and may need to be replaced. That would account for the lights being on with the switch off. A real three way switch has 3 wires connected to it. The wires on the switch are low voltage. The 120 volt line and neutral are connected in the relay box.
Is there a box near your main panel with a bunch of relays in it? You will need to identify the relay for that particular light. It may already be labeled, but you could have someone press the switch repeatedly and you could listen for the relay clicking.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv
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You may be right! There are a few relays in the mains switch panel and I can hear a click when the broken (?) switch is pressed.
Why would there be a relay??? Just another part that cab go broken.
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It was a lot easier to have multiple switch locations without spending a lot of money on wiring. The low voltage switches use a smaller gauge wire and are not required to be terminated in a junction box. I guess you could say it was an earlier version of a "Smart House". Manufacturers had accessories such as timers and master control boxes to operate the whole house from one location.
The downside is that there are two sets of wires to troubleshoot, and like you said another part that can break down.
Replacements are available, but you may have to try several different electrical supply houses to find them. You won't find them at a home center. I don't know if anyone sells them online. There are two types of systems, a 2 wire and a 3 wire. It sounds as though you have a 2 wire system. This can be confirmed by the number of low voltage wires on the relay.
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On Sat, 1 Apr 2006 10:48:06 -0500, "John Grabowski"

Whether it is a three way switch isn't really a matter of opinion. :-)
....

Normally I would consider my next remark nitpicking and wouldn't post it, but this case seems already maybe a situation with a misunderstanding by the OP.
A real three way switch has separate screws for 3 wires, but it might be used as a 2-way switch, and only have two wires connected to it.
I"m not saying that is the case here, but I'm trying to account for the OP having an "opinion" that it is 3-way.

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Any chance it is a switch designed to do this to save power. You turn it on, pass thru the space then it turns itself off after a suitable delay?

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