Rewiring 3 way switches

• posted on July 1, 2003, 1:17 am
My house was built before computers, or television for that matter, and one circuit has everything plugged into it. I have not had a problem yet, but it has to be getting close.
There is a 3way switch by the backdoor on the circuit, which goes to a switch by the front door with a 3wire and then to the ceiling fan/light. The front door switch shares a box with another light on a lightly used circuit.
Can I: 1) At the back door, replace the feed hot with the white that now goes to the other switch. (nutting the old wires and putting black tape on the white wire) 2) At the front door, replace the white wire (now coming from the other switch) with a black feed from the other switch in the box, attach the black wire going to the light with the white wire (again, marking it with black tape) from the other switch, and connect the white wire coming back from the light to a white wire already in the switch box.
That will reduce the load on the heavily used circuit by a few amps. I think this will work, but it is sufficiently confusing that I might be mistaken. Thanks.
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• posted on July 1, 2003, 1:32 am
I don't think there is any way of telling from what you have told us so far. My guess is it would be a bad idea to try it if you don't know what you are doing.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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• posted on July 1, 2003, 12:45 pm
It sounds as if you have two circuits sharing the same switch box. You are concerned that one of the circuits has a light and ceiling fan on it and you would like to move it to another circuit, taking advantage of the fact that the second circuit is lightly loaded.
It is quite unlikely that either circuit is "feeding" into the box. Rather, most switches are fed by a "switch loop" dropping down from the load. The feed goes to the device (light, fan, whatever) and the hot wire is "interrupted" at the device and diverted to the switch. Sometimes circuits feed the switch but this is not very common since it results in extra wiring in the switch box.
In any case, you should not attempt what you are proposing. It would only work if BOTH circuits fed the switch box, and unless you know this to be the case, you aren't going even be able to do it. Apart from that, it is going to be awfully easy to make errors which will somehow tie the two circuits together, and this is a BAD thing, with all sorts of potential for causing unexpected deaths and burning the house down.

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