3-Way Switch?

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  #1  
Old 01-19-06, 11:42 AM
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Question 3-Way Switch?

Can anyone tell me why I would have a single 3-way switch in my living room that runs only one half of the wall outlet (the other half is always hot)?

My intention is to disconnect the wall outlet from the switch and use the switch location to run new overhead lighting, but the existance/purpose of this 3-way switch puzzles me.

Thanks in advance . . .
 
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  #2  
Old 01-19-06, 11:53 AM
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In most rooms of a house it is required by code to have either a fixed light controlled by a switch, or one or more receptacles controlled by a switch, so that a light can be turned on when entering a dark room. If a room has two points of entry then there must be a switch at each entry point.

When the switch is (or switches are) wired to one or more receptacles, sometimes the wiring and receptacles will be such that half of a duplex will be switched, sometimes multiple receptacles will be able to be switched, etc.

In your case it sounds like half of one duplex receptacle is switched. This is not unusual. Why it is a 3 way switch is a question. Is there another switch somewhere? Has the house been remodeled and another door removed? Do both travelers of the three way switch have a wire on them, or is the three way switch being used as a two way switch?

Yes, you can use this switch to control an overhead light in this room. Depending on the wiring you may be able to leave the switch also controlling the receptacle, or you may have have the receptacle always on.
 
  #3  
Old 01-19-06, 12:00 PM
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The very first step is to verify that the switch outlet-box contains a "Neutral" conductor. Often, in switch connections, a White conductor may not be a "Neutral" conductor.This is definitely true if there is a White wire on a switch-terminal.

We will need an exact description of the connections in the O-B, both the connections to the switch-terminals, and "wire-to-wire" connections.

There MAY be a 2nd 3-way in the switch-loop.
 
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Old 01-19-06, 12:04 PM
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Bob-
Thanks for the reply. I understand the basics of switched duplex outlets and the need for a switch as you enter a room. Again, my intention is to rewire the outlet to be always on and to use the switch for the new overhead lights. I'm trying to figure out why a 3-way switch being used. There are no other switches in the room. Yes, both travelers have wires going to them. It looks like I'll have do do some digging to see where the second traveler goes.
 
  #5  
Old 01-19-06, 12:09 PM
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You will be able to rewire this as long as you want the receptacle always hot. But you will need to figure out the wiring. Check the receptacle first, since it is controlled by the switch. Are there any other wires in the switch box, or are there just the three wires connected to the switch (and perhaps a ground).

In fact there had better be a ground, or technically you can't extend this circuit to a ceiling light.
 
  #6  
Old 01-19-06, 12:15 PM
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The speed of replies here is wonderful! Rewiring the outlet is no trouble. As I said earlier, the other half of the outlet is already wired as always on. As for the switch, I think it's gounded via conduit. If not, I'll just pull new wire from the basement and remove the old wires. Thanks again for the replies.
 
  #7  
Old 01-19-06, 12:30 PM
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Well, figure out where the two "travelers" go. They may go to the receptacle that is switched.
 
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