I have a single dining room light controlled by two 3-way switches (Switch 1 and Switch 2).

The way things are wired / set up right now is:

Switch 1 is really the only switch we ever use to turn the light on and off.

If Switch 1 is in the On position you can turn the light off using Switch 2, BUT

If Switch 1 is in the Off position, then you CANNOT turn it on using Switch 2.

That said, what I want to do is replace Switch 1 with this single pole dimmer switch. I DO NOT care about being able to turn the light on and off using Switch 2.

The following pictures show the current wiring for the (non-dimmer) three-way switch (Switch 1) and the single pole dimmer switch I want to replace it with. enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

How would I go about wiring things to accomplish what I want?

  • It seems like you have an open traveler. Also, there are Code requirements that can force a multiway switching configuration to be installed... Jun 10, 2017 at 17:24
  • 1
    Check your local code requirements as to whether the 3-way configuration is required by law. This tends to vary a lot. Jun 10, 2017 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


This is a pretty common problem. A three way switch has 3 posts for connection 2 posts are for the carriers between the switches and one post that is for the line/load. So line side (hot wire) attached to one side of the 3 way and the load side (switch leg) attaches to the other and up to the lights being served. Your problem is the one of the line/load conductors is attached to one of the carrier posts and off course the carrier is reversed also. So it's just a matter of having the right wires on the right posts.

If you want to abandon switch 2 you can simply remove the wires from it and connect the line/load conductor to a carrier then find that conductor in the switch 1 box and use it as the new line/load conductor then connecting it to your dimmer. Be sure and wire nut off and make safe the extra carrier conductors.

The problem is that the next person living in the house may want the 3-way back. So might I suggest you repair the original problem. Then purchase a three way dimmer and leave them both in place.

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