I've got a three-way switch installed in series (I believe that's the correct term - it is not a proper three-way switch, both switches have to be in the on position for the lights to be on.) I had an electrician check, and he said it was wired improperly at the light and I would have to completely rewire it to make it function properly.

So as an alternative, I want to just remove one of the switches, the first on the circuit.

Can I just connect black to black and white to white at that switch, to basically treat that switch as always on?

  • Where does the power come into this setup? Is it at the switch or at the light?
    – Machavity
    Aug 6, 2017 at 13:07
  • 1
    Are the switches three way switches or a switch that has "on" and "off" on the handles? Aug 6, 2017 at 13:40
  • Can you post photos of the insides of the boxes? Aug 6, 2017 at 15:02
  • Without more information we cannot answer. It is possible that you would just make a short circuit which would trip the breaker. If you just want the thing to work, just leave one switch in place but covered so it is not used and just use the other switch to control the light. Aug 6, 2017 at 15:22
  • Machavity, its at the light I believe, which I think is the problem. Retired Master Electrician, they're both three way switches (I installed them before I realized the issue). ThreePhaseEel, I will try and get pictures soon.
    – Josh
    Aug 6, 2017 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


How to bypass a plain (1-way) switch

Make sure the switch works now, if not you will lose your mind trying to make it work. Turn the power off first at breaker or fuse. Unscrew covers and pull switch out of box. Photograph everything. Then

  • Note any ground wires which go to the switch. Grounds are bare, green, or yellow+green stripe.
  • Ignoring any ground wires, there are now exactly two wires going to the switch. If there are not, STOP: you will not be bypassing this switch today, and post the photos on SE for advice.
  • A wire you can't identify is not a ground wire!
  • Remove the switch and splice together those exactly two wires.
  • Remove any ground wires still on the switch.
  • Do Not Touch any other wires which may be in the box.

Push it all back into the box and fit a blank cover.

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