3-Way Dimming; Dangerous Wiring?


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Old 12-25-21, 10:03 PM
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Question 3-Way Dimming; Dangerous Wiring?

Hi guys,

I'm a home-owner who's pretty new to wiring. I'm trying to replace a 3-way switch in my basement to accommodate LED dimming. This switch was a dimmer; The other is not. The instructions show that I should have four wires to attach with wire nuts, while my cable (which reads "type nm-b 600 V") only contains three wires. It looks like they used the ground to carry current and left the ground cable coming from the switch loose in the plastic box.

Is this:
1) OK
2) Dated but Pretty OK
3) Dated but Pretty Dangerous
4) Your House Will Probably Burn Down Before You Can Read Replies

Thanks for any help -- I'm lost on this one.


 

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12-25-21, 10:13 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

NM-b (romex) cable doesn't include ground in the wire count.
14-3 w/gr. is three wire plus ground.
14-2 w/gr. is two wire plus a ground.

You have two wire cable there and if that is one half of a three way circuit is incorrect. The ground cannot be used as a current carrying conductor. It's not dated it's just outright wrong. It is not an immediate fire hazard but cannot be left like that. A device must be properly grounded.... especially in a plastic box.
 
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Old 12-25-21, 10:13 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

NM-b (romex) cable doesn't include ground in the wire count.
14-3 w/gr. is three wire plus ground.
14-2 w/gr. is two wire plus a ground.

You have two wire cable there and if that is one half of a three way circuit is incorrect. The ground cannot be used as a current carrying conductor. It's not dated it's just outright wrong. It is not an immediate fire hazard but cannot be left like that. A device must be properly grounded.... especially in a plastic box.
 
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Old 12-25-21, 10:16 PM
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Pete,

Thanks for the quick response Pete! Sounds like it's time to call an electrical guy.

Adam
 
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Old 12-25-21, 10:16 PM
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You would need to replace that two wire cable with a three wire cable.
 
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Old 12-26-21, 10:09 AM
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You would need to replace that two wire cable with a three wire cable.
Or possibly install a smart switch that will provide a dimmer and 3-way switch capability without having to run new cabling.

I've used the Lutron Caseta line to do this.
 
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