How to wire a four-way switch can cause more headaches compared to all other electrical do-it-yourself projects at home. A four-way switch is an electric switch used in house wiring where you can control lights with three or more switches from different places. This can be really useful for rooms and areas which have more than one exit or in long hallways. This four-way switch and how it works video will tell you all the quirks and how this configuration can be essential in your home.
Things You Need in Wiring a Four-Way Switch
There are available ready-made four-way switch configurations in the market but are often hard to find. In this case, you have to wire your own four-way switch at home. Take out all your electrical home tools because you will absolutely need those.
In wiring a four-way switch, you will need a pair of three-way switches, one at each end, and a four-way switch in between or as many as needed. You will also need a length of three-wire cables with a ground to connect the switches and a two-wire cable to connect it to the main power panel.
The Different Ways of Wiring a Four-Way Switch
The two ways in wiring a four-way switch are the conventional and the alternate four-way switch which is more complex to create. If you have an average do-it-yourself electrical skill, it would be better and safer to start with the conventional four-way switch wiring.
How to Do a Conventional Four-Way Switch Wiring?
Wiring a conventional four-way switch at home is not that complicated if you have the right tools and know what you are doing. Start creating a four-way switch configuration for your lightings at home.
There is also a four-way switch diagram you can follow. The first step in wiring a four-way switch configuration is locating your switches. You need to have the two three-way switch at each end and the four-way switch or more in between.
When the location of your switches is set at the first three-way switch, run a length of the three-wire cable to the location of your four-way switch. If you have more than one four-way switch, run a length of the three-wire cable in between their locations.
From the location of your last four-way switch, run a length of the three-wire cable to your second three-way switch. Then, run a length of the two-wire cable from the second three-way switch to your lighting fixture.
Back on your first three-way switch, wire nut the two white wires you can find at the back of the switch. Connect the black wire from the main power panel by a screw to the side of the switch. Use a black traveler wire to connect to the top screw of the three-way switch and bottom screw of the switches by a red traveler wire.
Wire nut the ground wires together along with an additional pigtail ground that you have then connect to the ground screw.
At your four-way switch, wire nut the two white wires together. Connect the black wire from the first three-way switch to the top screw and the red wire from the first three-way switch at the bottom screw. Again, connect a black traveler wire at the top screw of the other side of the four-way switch and a red traveler wire at the bottom of the other side of the switch. Repeat this process if you have more than one four-way switch.
Wire nut the two white wires in your second three-way switch. Connect the black wire coming from the last four-way switch at the top screw of your second three-way switch and the red wire at the bottom. From the top screw of the other side, connect the black traveler wire to the lighting fixture then wire nut all the black wires together.
Wrap all the wire nuts with electrical tape and screw everything into place. If all is done, test your wiring by turning on the light using the first three-way switch, then use the other three-way switch to turn it off. Flipping the four-way switch in the middle should also turn it on and off.
For a more visual tutorial, here is a video with the steps on how to wire a four-way switch.
Safety is always a must in all type of works especially in doing electrical wirings at home. The steps on how to wire a four-way switch are easy to follow but like any other home wiring jobs, test the wires before handling them to make sure the power is off. Wiring a four-way switch in a conventional manner is better and safer for you.