Three-way to Two-way Switches

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The light in the laundry room and the light on the back porch are both controlled by a pair of three-way switches. The first switch is where you come into the laundry room from the dining room and the second is in the laundry room by the door exiting to the back porch. I would like to change it to having two two-way switches, one to control the laundry room light and one for the back porch light.
It seems that I should be able to do this without rewiring the whole thing. First identify the hot line coming from the box, then using the two wires running between the two existing switches use one to feed the other switch box in an always-on mode while the other controls the other light. The major re-wiring will be to get one switched hot line to each light fixture but since it's a suspended ceiling, the wires are all visible behind the tiles.
Any thoughts on this? Anyone tried it before?
*As others mentioned, this may not be as straight forward as you think. I would first try to identify the wires feeding each light fixture. It is possible that one light is fed from the other light. In that case you would need to run a separate feed up to one of the light fixtures.
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The question I have is why do you want to change it to begin with? It would seem having the 3 way switches on each light gives you the most flexibility. You can turn the ligth on or off from either location, so what's the issue? Usually foks are looking to go the other way. I'd think you'd want the laundry room light to be able to turn on from either entrance as you go into a dark room, no?
I would think you could do it with the wiring already there if you insist on doing it.
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On Mon, 30 Jan 2012 16:10:20 -0500, "John Grabowski"
It's interesting how much easier this is to read when the lines are shorter. The first verrion had the lines 80 characters long or more.
Oh, this is not directly from the OP, but by John.

I get it now. Very unusual. An amateur or maybe a pro made a mistake. There was 3 mistakes of various sorts by the electrician who did my house, all small, one related to 3-way switches.

Missed this part enitrely. I wonder if everyone else did with the 80 character lines???

My thought is that you should take down the ceiling and make a drawing of the way the cables are now, and another drawing of the way you think they should be to work the way you want.. Then make a list of every change you need to make to get from one to the other.
You should remove the wall plates at the two switches, pull the switches out in order to see the details of how many wires there are and which are connected to swtiches, which are wire-nutted to each otther, review your first drawing, and make a new drawing showing each wire within each cable, as they are now. And make another drawing with just as much detail the way you think they should be. And refine your list of every change you need to make.
As you make your list, you should figure out if you need more cable.
You can use 3-way switches as 2 way if you want to.
In one bathroom, the light over the mirror, the light on ceiling, and the bathroom fan all went on with one switch. I was able to make the ceiling light not go on unless I wanted it too, by putting a swtich in the mirror fixture, but I couldn't do the opposite without much more work since the wires first went to the mirror. I put a second switch t here to turn off the fan, which I never use.

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Draw a diagram of the three way circuits you now have then modify the drawing to look like what you want. The secret to modifying wiring to to know what you have to start with.
Jimmie
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wrote:

controlled by a pair of three-way switches. The first switch is where you come into the laundry room from the dining room and the second is in the laundry room by the door exiting to the back porch. I would like to change it to having two two-way switches, one to control the laundry room light and one for the back porch light.

First identify the hot line coming from the box, then using the two wires running between the two existing switches use one to feed the other switch box in an always-on mode while the other controls the other light. The major re-wiring will be to get one switched hot line to each light fixture but since it's a suspended ceiling, the wires are all visible behind the tiles.

When you get ready to find out, turn the circuit off and pull the switches out of the wall and take a picture of what you have. (don't disconnect anything)
Even if you decide not to change them, take photos for us.
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