A two-way switch is a type of switch that allows you to control an electrical circuit from two different locations. They are commonly used in staircase wiring to turn a light bulb on or off from the top or bottom of a stairway, but they can also be used to control lights in rooms or hallways with multiple doorways into them.
Two-way switches typically have three terminals that are connected in two separate positions (some call these “1 Way” or “2 Way” wires). In one position, the COM terminal is connected to L1; in the other, it’s connected to L2. This design is referred to as a “break before make” switch because the first connection has to be broken before the second is made.
When installing new switches, it’s important to label both common wires in the switch box. This will help you later to distinguish them from other wires when replacing the switch.
Step 1: Loosen the screws that attach the wires to the switch’s housing. Be sure to use pliers and not your fingers because the switch’s screws may be tight or hard to remove.
STEP 2: Label the common wires in the switch box and mark them with a piece of electrical tape. Once you’ve done this, the switch should be easier to install and replace.
Now that you’ve labeled the common wires, you can open up the switch boxes. You should be able to see eight wires, including two white (neutral) wires that connect in a wire nut and two black wires that connect to screw terminals. You’ll also be able to see three green or bare copper wires that are ground wires.
Once you’ve identified the wires, disconnect the terminal and ground wires by twisting off the nut on each end. This should free the wires enough to bend them into a hook that will fit on the new switch’s screws.
It’s also a good idea to inspect the ends of the wires for signs of damage and degraded portions. Clip off any damaged parts with a multi-tool or wire cutters.
You should also examine the incoming and load wires to ensure they are all intact, as well as any ground wires. Often, ground wires aren’t attached to the switches, and it’s a good idea to connect them so that they form an even connection.
After the wires are disconnected, you’ll be able to remove the switch from the wall. Be careful not to damage any of the wires as you pull it away.
Step 4: Unscrew the terminal and ground wires from the switch. You can then remove it from the wall and replace it with a new switch.
When installing the switch, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for connecting the incoming and load wires to the switch’s terminals. This will ensure that the switch will work properly once you’ve installed it.
Once you’ve completed this, you should have a new light switch that works just like the old one did. Now you can start figuring out how to control the light from any location!