Imagine: You are watching television in your living room, and you feel sleepy. Naturally, you got up, turned the TV off and would go up to your bedroom. You turn the lights on at the stairwell, went up, and got stuck. Why? Well you wondered “How will I switch it off?” It would be unwise and very inconvenient if you go down again to turn it off. Then just go up with the lights off…something that you should have done in the first place.
Hassle, I know.
Of course you wanted something that can help you with that. And yes, the solution is here! Say hello to 3-way switch. Who would have known how easy your life can be with this???
How It Works
To make it simple (including me), three way switches make it easy to control the switch from two different locations. This can be very useful for 2-storey houses, or long corridors. Obviously, you will need 2 switches for this, as opposed to the regular one switch requirement. In three-way switches, the flow of electricity is not stopped, but rather being channeled to another connector. It has three terminals, in which one terminal can be connected to the second and third terminal.
It may be hard to comprehend in words, so hopefully the diagram will do justice. For an attempt to explain it much simpler, in the diagram, the numbers 1, 2 and 3 represent the three terminals. When you first flip the switch, terminal 1 and 3 are connected, turning the light on. On the other hand, pushing the other switch will make terminals 2 and 3 connected, turning the light off. The special part is, you flip either of the switches (1 or 2), the light will either turn on or off, depending on its previous action. The electricity basically flows around the three terminals. Suffice to say, the first switch is not only meant for “On” function, or the second switch is not only for “Off”.
Like the example in the beginning, if you have 3-way switches at home (situated at the bottom and top landing of the stairs), you can witness the convenience of having this switch. As soon as you are about to go up the stairs, switch on the light. Feel free to walk up the stair flight. Upon reaching the second floor of your home, you can now switch the light off using the switch which is on the same floor as you are. No need to go down again!
Having a three-way switch at home is for convenience’ sake. It would save you the time and energy from walking to and from the switch. We do not want that hassle, of course. Do not confuse it with 3-gang switch. That’s a different story. So before you overlook this need, make sure that you have a three-way switch at home!