Multiple 3-way switch wiring help

monkeystomachApril 14, 2011

Hi Guys,

This forum has always provided me with helpful and accurate electrical advice and I am back with more questions.

Here is the situation: I am remodeling my kitchen. There are currently two circuits (12/2 romex) that run the receptacles and another circuit (14/2 romex) that controls the light fixture. We plan to replace the single light in the middle of the room with 6 or 8 recessed cans in the ceiling. The lighting circuit is currently set up in a "standard" 3-way switch configuration where the power comes into one switch and 14/3 is used to connect it to the other switch.

We would like to keep the 3-way switches but also add another set of 3-way switches so we can control half of the recessed cans at a time. What is the best way to do this? Right now I am guessing that I will just add a pigtail from the power wire to another switch and run another 14/3 to the other new switch across the room. Or is there someway to wire it if I run 14/3 to the recessed cans?

We also want to hard-wire some under cabinet lights. Would I be over loading the kitchen lighting circuit to also add the under cabinet lights to it?

Thanks,

Ed

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brickeyee

"We would like to keep the 3-way switches but also add another set of 3-way switches so we can control half of the recessed cans at a time. "

You will have to break up the existing string of lights and add another switch at each location.

Each switch will control half the lights.

You need to add up the loads on the existing circuit to determine how much more it can support.

You are generally limited to 80% of the circuit capacity (15 A or 20 A)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 7:12PM
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Billl

The easiest thing to do is just copy the 3 way switch that is there and make another one just like it to control the other set of lights.

For the load, current = power/voltage. Add up the watts of all your lights and divide by 110. With 6 cans and some under cabinet, you should be fine. Don't forget to include anything else on that circuit though - eg range hood.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 9:38AM
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brickeyee

"Add up the watts of all your lights and divide by 110. "

The nominal voltage that is used is 120 V.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 10:17AM
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Billl

If you are cutting it close enough for 110 vs 120 to matter, then you should add another lighting circuit.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 11:19AM
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