Wire 3 way Switches and other Wiring Diagrams

Below are some of the most common wiring diagrams you will encounter in your home for outlets, switches, and major appliances.  Wiring 3 way switches seems to be the most popular topic so I've included lots of diagrams for those.  Three-way switches allow you to control lights or receptacles from two points.  These are commonly used for lighting in a stairway where you want a switch on each floor entering the stairway.  Three-way switches are also common in hallways, garages, and kitchens.

Four-way switches are very similar in design to three-ways and are used to control lights or receptacles from three or more switch locations.

 

How to Wire a Light Switch

Wire a light switch
lightswitch  lightbulb

 Wire a light switch (power into light)
lightbulb  lightswitch

Wire a light switch (multiple lights from one switch)
lightswitch  lightbulb  lightbulb

Wire a light switch (multiple lights and multiple switches)
lightswitch  lightswitch  lightbulb  lightbulb

 

How to Wire a 3 way Switch

Wire a basic 3-way switch
lightswitch  lightswitch  lightbulb

Wire a 3-way switch (power into light)
lightbulb  lightswitch  lightswitch

Wire a 3-way switch (multiple lights)
lightswitch lightswitch lightbulb lightbulb

Wire a 3-way switch (light between switches)
lightswitch  lightbulb  lightswitch

Wire a 3-way switch (light between switch but power into light)
lightswitch  lightbulb  lightswitch

Wire a 3-way switch (multiple lights between switches)
lightswitch  lightbulb  lightbulb  lightswitch

I bet you never knew there were so many different ways to wire 3 way switches.  Almost every 3 way switch configuration you will encounter in a home will be based on one of these diagrams.

How to Wire a 4-way Switch

Wire a 4-way switch
lightswitch  lightswitch  lightswitch  lightbulb

Wire a 4-way switch (All wires to one box)
lightswitch  lightswitch  lightswitch  lightbulb

How to Wire a Ceiling Fan

Wire a Ceiling Fan (Light Dimmer with Fan Switch)
dimmer-switch-icon  lightswitch fan-icon

Wire a Ceiling Fan (Separate Light and Fan Switches)
lightswitch  lightswitch fan-icon

Wire a Ceiling Fan (Power into Fixture #1)
dimmer-switch-icon  lightswitch fan-icon

Wire a Ceiling Fan (Power into Fixture #2)
lightswitch  lightswitch fan-icon

Wire a Ceiling Fan (Power into Fixture, Single Dimmer)
dimmer-switch-icon  fan-icon

Wire a Ceiling Fan (Power into Fixture, Switch Loop)
lightswitch fan-icon

Wire a Ceiling Fan (Single Switch)
lightswitch fan-icon

How to Wire an Exhaust Fan

Wire a Bathroom/Exhaust Fan
lightswitch  exhaust-fan-icon

Wire an Exhaust Fan (Timer Switch)
timer-switch-icon  exhaust-fan-icon

Wire a Bathroom Fan (Light Switch and Fan Timer)
timer-switch-icon  lightswitch exhaust-fan-icon

 

How to wire an outlet

Wire a standard outlet
Electrical Outlet

Wire a GFCI outlet
  GFCI Outlet

Wiring multiple GFCI outlets
  GFCI Outlet  Electrical OutletElectrical Outlet

How to Wire Major Home Appliances

How to wire a stove or range
stove

How to wire a dryer
Wiring a Dryer

How to wire a dishwasher
Wiring Dishwasher

How to wire a water heater
Wiring Water Heater

 

Common Electrical Wiring Diagrams

Frequently Asked Electrical Questions

Wire Gauge and Voltage Drop Calculator

NEC Reference Tables (2011, 2008, 2005, 2002, and 1999)

Electrical - The Basics

Residential Electrical Guidelines and Codes

Rough-In Electrical and Pulling Cable

Breakers and Fuses

Wire Types and Sizing

Sizing Your Electrical Service

Electrical - Main Service Line Installation

Fire/Smoke Alarm Installation

Doorbell Wiring

Phone Wiring

Low-Voltage Wiring

Cable Pinouts

Click the icons below to get our NEC® compliant Electrical Calc Elite or Electric Toolkit for Android and iOS.  The Electrical Calc Elite is designed to solve many of your common code-based electrical calculations like wire sizes, voltage drop, conduit sizing, etc.  The Electric Toolkit provides some basic electrical calculations, wiring diagrams (similar to those found on this website), and other electrical reference data. 

 electric-toolkit-android     Electrical Calc Elite