I have two switches in the livingroom that control the outlets in the room. We never use them and in fact since we swapped out all the outlets due to age, we didn't split them so they're hot all the time regardless.

I'm in the process of converting some switches into smart switches and already ran a 2 pole wire in my office to control the light and fan separately. I'd like to do that in the livingroom as well, only difference is there will be two switches for the light instead of just one.

What I've done so far is ran a second 2 pole wire from the ceiling fan down to one of the switches. So I have a black and white wire from the light (what I want to toggle). Currently the 3 way switch has three wires, one red connected to the traveler that goes to the other switch. One black that goes to the other switch as well, and another red in the common that's going to the outlets.

The other switch has one red wire and a black wire (black is in the traveler) going to the same source. There's a black wire in the common going somewhere else. Unfortunately I'm unable to determine where exactly everything is going on the second switch.

Switch 1

Switch 2

Any good advice is great. If more information is needed, please ask and I'll do my best to find out.

Thank you in advanced for any help.

  • Your switches need ground wires connected.
    – Tester101
    Jan 13, 2017 at 12:33
  • 1
    You'll also probably hear it from others, about using the backstab terminals on the switches.
    – Tester101
    Jan 13, 2017 at 12:34
  • 1
    Which switch did you run the new cable to? Jan 13, 2017 at 12:46
  • Thanks, this is the work of the contractors. Grounds are all connected together and bundled in the back. The first picture, (switch 1) is the three way I want to run to the light (the white cable coming out of the wall). The switch next to it is a simple switch to the fan. The second picture, (switch 2) is the other three way switch on the circuit I would also like to control the light. If it can be done in this manner, then great, otherwise the ultimatum is to take one of the 3-way switches out and simply cover it up. I'm going to be replacing these with smart switches/dimmer.
    – Jonny
    Jan 13, 2017 at 13:44
  • 1
    Make sure you're not deleting a switch which is mandatory for lighting. Every room must have a light switch that works, with a huge exception cut in for switched outlets. I'm not a fan of that. Neither are EMTs. Jan 13, 2017 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


So, I got it. A little research and wire tracing, I figured I had this setup:


So I followed that diagram, wired the traveler to a hot wire so the outlets would always stay on, and everything worked. Even grounded the switches. Decent little setup now so if anyone in the future wanted to revert back, they could easily do so behind the switches.

Lessons learned: The internet doesn't answer your questions, just points out what else is wrong.

Hope that diagram helps anyone else dealing with stuff like this.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.