Tuesday, October 03, 2006

You may call me Sir Electric

Our stairwell has a light switch on the first floor and a light switch at the top of the stairs. Ever since we moved in about four months ago, the light has never worked right. In order to operate the light from downstairs, the switch on the second floor had to be on.

No big deal, you say. Just keep the light at the top of the stairs on all the time. But, when you go to bed you don't want to leave the hall light on, so we would turn it off. Well, when morning came and the sun was out, we just walked downstairs and left for the day. When we got home, flicked the switch at the bottom of the stairs and...nothing. Rassin, frassin, fricking, frackin switch.

So I dug out my trusty Home Improvement 1-2-3 by Homer D. Poe and looked up three-way switches. I've never really understood how three-way switches work and usually relied on my brother -in-law to hook them up for me. But Homer explained it pretty well. So I opened up both switches and the light and diagrammed the whole thing. I then took my diagram and compared it to the book. Aha, the hot wire was hooked to a traveler instead of the common terminal on the master three-way switch. I turned the power off at the panel, made the right connections, and voila! The light can now be turned on from either the top or the bottom.

Four months for something that could have taken a professional 5 minutes; priceless.

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