Weird wired thing

We have an outdoor light installed by previous owners, lights burned out since we bought the house. I changed bulbs, and found when light switch in closet nearby is turned on, the inside light goes on, and the outside bulbs go out, and when turned off, the outside bulbs go on. In other words, switch on in closet = lights off outside. Strange to me, but here's the really weird wired thing: With the new bulbs installed, light switch off in closet = still dim glow in closet light. Closet light never goes completely off - but between full bright and dim glow. At this point, outside lights are on, and inside light has a dim glow. Lights outside go between total on and total off. Remove outside lights, and closet becomes full binary again. I haven't traced the circuit, but there's one conduit that I can see. One end has the switch, the center has the closet light, and the other end has the outside lights. It looks like a self-contained conduit, which is impossible. Outside, there appear to be two wires running in, so I assume one of them is the feed from another location that I can't see, and then a branch over to the inside light and the switch. I figure there's a problem somewhere, so I took out the outside bulbs altogether. Note one other thing: around this time (same day, not sure about the hour), our electric dryer stopped putting out heat, but still turns. The dryer is in the same closet, appears to have a different circuit. The only change now in outside lights is that there are no bulbs whatsoever instead of the original burned-out bulbs. Can anyone help me sort this out?
Thanks,
Bruce Kimball from Louisville
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This is Turtle.
I can't see it from here but it sounds like you have liting circuit that is run off the 220 volt circuit for power. A lot of home owner will tee off a 220 drier circuit to get 110 volt power for a lighting circuit to supply a add on in a extra area they wanted light in. Also you have a 3 way switch hooked up to the light out side and is tied into the ground side to turn it off and on with.
I will say this : you need to get a electric service fellow to come check this out because of safety reasons.
TURTLE
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My trusty multimeter turned up a broken heating coil in the dryer (an old Kenmore - coil wire inside is snapped, no sign of burning), so I think the two problems are coincidental. And it also shows a stable 240 V at the dryer outlet. I'm less convinced that the circuits are tied together. Still, your warnings about the 3-way switch circuit are important. Since it is all confined to one small area, I may try to kill the circuit at the breaker and have a look at the switch's internals.
Bruce Kimball from Louisville

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beekay wrote:

It looks like a three way switch and a local floating neutral.
I suspect the whole problem is in the box behind that switch, but I also suggest that unless you are really comfortable with analyzing and correcting wiring problems, (your question tends to make me think not) I suggest a professional may be a good idea. I don't think I can give you enough help without seeing it to suggest going ahead yourself.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

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