How common is the line at the fixture for 3-ways?

Had a fun experience which reiterated the need to physically verify all of the components in a 3-way setup (I know, I know :slight_smile: ). I hadn’t come across my own home’s setup before, and was wondering if it was common or just the builder being lazy.

In my setup, the line is fed from another room into the light’s octobox, not the switch receptacle. It runs two conductors from there as follows (note: this is with the traditional 3-way switches):

It looks like a common setup where the 3-conductor wire meets in the octobox, and you get power to the line in on the switch all the time, but not what I expected when I wired everything up. The switch is fine, thankfully, and I’m going to drop a line from the octo to the switch box to make it a little more traditional, but was wondering if others had come across this setup before. Surprised me a little.

This WAS common some time ago. For about the last 10 years or so (depending on what code you are subject to), neutrals are required in switch boxes (with some exceptions). So you shouldn’t see that in newer construction.

The extra 12ft of wire and ten minutes of effort would have been appreciated. :slight_smile:

90s construction, and the other two 3-ways in the house feed the line through the switch gangbox, hence the surprise. Thanks for the quick reply, Bry.

No problem. That one is probably on the end of the run and it was just easier to terminate at the light.

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Yup. It feeds from a circuit that supplies a bedroom and bathroom and branches from a switch in the bathroom. Taught me a few things and have added them to the dummylist. Have a great weekend!

Yea somethings don’t make sense. You know the electrician probably cut off 12 ft of wire and threw it away.

Are you kidding? That’s 36 pigtails and 18 ground jumpers!!! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


@Bry :joy::rofl::joy::rofl:

I feel they’re more likely to save any materials at the current cost of materials. Time to start a smoldering company and melting all those computers cables together.