I have two 3-way diimmer switches, one at the top of stairs and one at
the bottom that control lights at both the top and bottom of the
stairs. If the switch at the bottom of the stairs is in the "on"
position (up) the switch at the top of the stairs will turn the lights
on and off. If the switch at the bottom of the stairs is in the "off"
position (down) the switch at the top of the stairs will not work.
I'm assuming one of the switches is bad, but which one do I replace?
best to replace both switches, lets see they are likely the same age,
one has failed the other one will shortly.........
they arent expensive best to replace both with quality ones and forget
about it for the rest of your life.
they last forever
Could be either switch is bad OR the switches are both good and a wire
to one of switches is not connected. It's not possible to tell which
until you dig in.
If any switches are 'back stabbed' try moving the wires to the
corresponding screws instead.
Note that 3 way switches don't really have on and off positions. IF both
switches are the same type/brand AND installed in the same orientation then:
Both down = on
Both up = on,
One up & one down = off.
Since you say it was a dimmer switch, that usually means there are two
different kinds of switches, one master and one slave. The usual rules do
not apply. But the procedure is about the same. Replace one, being very
careful to use the same slave or master type as the one being replaced and
that the wires are replaced exactly as they were. Note: If you buy a pair
for the replacement, I would replace both to prevent a possible defective
switch from damaging a good replacement.
I agree with Joseph, you don't wire two three way dimmers to a circuit, so
if it indeed worked properly, you have an electronic master-slave system. If
the problem is not a loose or disconnected wire, just replace the two part
system with new master and slave
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