3-way and 4-way switching location requirements

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
That would be a local amendment as it is not required under the NEC.
210.70(A)(2)(3) ?
As stated below 3-ways is one way to comply with that section but it is not a requirement.

That section doesn't exactly require use of three/four way switches, though use of those is one of most common methods to comply.
There is no requirement for a 3-way there.
I agree. :)
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
A complete list of ALL the locations in the 2017 where '3-way' actually appears:

200.7(C)(1) [use of white conductor].






Yep, that's it.
 
2012 Virginia Residential Code:

R303.7Stairway illumination.
All interior and exterior stairways shall be provided with a means to illuminate the stairs, including the landings and treads. Interior stairways shall be provided with an artificial light source located in the immediate vicinity of each landing of the stairway. For interior stairs the artificial light sources shall be capable of illuminating treads and landings to levels not less than 1 foot-candle (11 lux) measured at the center of treads and landings. Exterior stairways shall be provided with an artificial light source located in the immediate vicinity of the top landing of the stairway. Exterior stairways providing access to a basement from the outside grade level shall be provided with an artificial light source located in the immediate vicinity of the bottom landing of the stairway.

Exception: An artificial light source is not required at the top and bottom landing, provided an artificial light source is located directly over each stairway section.

R303.7.1Light activation.
Where lighting outlets are installed in interior stairways, there shall be a wall switch at each floor level to control the lighting outlet where the stairway has six or more risers. The illumination of exterior stairways shall be controlled from inside the dwelling unit.

Exception: Lights that are continuously illuminated or automatically controlled.



OK, so the words "Three Way" are not in there, but the sentiment is....;)
 

al hildenbrand

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
Occupation
Electrical Contractor, Electrical Consultant, Electrical Engineer
2012 Virginia Residential Code:

R303.7Stairway illumination.
All interior and exterior stairways shall be provided with a means to illuminate the stairs, including the landings and treads. Interior stairways shall be provided with an artificial light source located in the immediate vicinity of each landing of the stairway. For interior stairs the artificial light sources shall be capable of illuminating treads and landings to levels not less than 1 foot-candle (11 lux) measured at the center of treads and landings. Exterior stairways shall be provided with an artificial light source located in the immediate vicinity of the top landing of the stairway. Exterior stairways providing access to a basement from the outside grade level shall be provided with an artificial light source located in the immediate vicinity of the bottom landing of the stairway.

Exception: An artificial light source is not required at the top and bottom landing, provided an artificial light source is located directly over each stairway section.

R303.7.1Light activation.
Where lighting outlets are installed in interior stairways, there shall be a wall switch at each floor level to control the lighting outlet where the stairway has six or more risers. The illumination of exterior stairways shall be controlled from inside the dwelling unit.

Exception: Lights that are continuously illuminated or automatically controlled.



OK, so the words "Three Way" are not in there, but the sentiment is....;)
Note that the wall switch, at the minimum, is controlling a SINGLE Lighting Outlet.

While it is convenient to control both lighting outlets with a pair of three way switches, the ordinance you quote is not written that way.

And, the 1 foot-candle illumination requirement is only necessary to be met when both of the lights are on.

Not one word is said about the act of switching on and off of the Lighting Outlets simultaneously from only one switch (of a three way setup.)
 

charlie b

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Seattle, WA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
Where lighting outlets are installed in interior stairways, there shall be a wall switch at each floor level to control the lighting outlet where the stairway has six or more risers.
This will (admittedly) be pushing the interpretation a bit. But the article talks about controlling the "outlet" (singular). This rule could apply to more than one stairway, but it implies that you have at least 2 switches controlling one lighting outlet at each stairway. This is not far from being a requirement for 3-way switching.

 
I'm in agreement with youse guys.

Most people were too cheap to leave stairway lights on all the time in single family residences (hear your father now, "Turnoff that light!"). So the only minimum expense solution back a few years was three way switches. Hence my sentiment comment. Not required, just common use to satisfy code.

Now, however, leaving LED lights on all the time costs little in electricity (but a lot in replacement bulbs...:rant:) and occupancy sensors fill in nicely to eliminate three ways if you like.

So, anyway you want to pass code is OK!:thumbsup:

I'll keep installing three ways, my choice.:p
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
Keep in mind you only need to install a lighting outlet and no luminaire is required, for a bedroom the light switch location is not specified and could be across the room...as pointed out if you wire a house to the NEC, the homeowner will not be pleased...
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Location
Iowegia
Keep in mind you only need to install a lighting outlet and no luminaire is required, for a bedroom the light switch location is not specified and could be across the room...as pointed out if you wire a house to the NEC, the homeowner will not be pleased...
Technically, one switch per level is all you need. Entire first floor.... one switch in the living room. Upper level... one switch in the hallway. Basement... one switch by the panel......
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Keep in mind you only need to install a lighting outlet and no luminaire is required, for a bedroom the light switch location is not specified and could be across the room...as pointed out if you wire a house to the NEC, the homeowner will not be pleased...
Technically, one switch per level is all you need. Entire first floor.... one switch in the living room. Upper level... one switch in the hallway. Basement... one switch by the panel......
For illumination of stairways over 6 risers.

The mentioned bedroom lighting outlet - bedroom can be on third floor, needs a wall switch but code doesn't say where. A single switch three floors down is in compliance with code for that bedroom.
 
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