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Two dimmers in one "box", each going to a separate room. One set of lights started to flicker, so I figured I needed to replace the switch. I've done dimmers before. But when I opened the box, whoever wired it had one wire screwed in, which I assume is the hot wire, but 3 other wires braided together and stuck into one pole.

Why would they do that?

Now I have a 3 way switch. How should I go about fixing it? Also, all 3 wires are black so that's frustrating. Thanks, sorry if I'm not using correct verbiage.

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    Please try adding a picture of your switch box wiring. Click the edit link under your post, then look for the little "picture" icon on the top edit bar (has a mountain) and add your picture(s) then save the edit. – Ecnerwal May 13 at 14:00
  • The live electrical feed to the switch may continue from the switch to another switch or accessory on the circuit, hence the three connected together. What I'm concerned about is that you said it's two dimmers, with three wires on one pole and one on another. Is that just for one of the dimmers, or are those four wires assumed to be connected to both dimmers? A picture would help. – Sam_Butler May 13 at 15:14
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Almost certainly the hot is one of the 3, and the single wire goes to the light this dimmer controls, while the other 2 wires feed unswitched hot to other devices. Given that your assumption is opposite, you MIGHT want to consider an electrician, or further self-education.

See Light Switch Terminals which is a very similar question (one less wire in the bundle.) "Braiding 3 together" is wrong. Using a wire nut (or other listed splice mechanism) to join 4, with the 4th being an additional short "pigtail" to connect to the switch terminal is correct.

Incidentally, having 3 wires stuck in one pole does not make the switch a 3-way switch. A 3-way switch is a particular type of switch commonly used so that you can control lights from two switch locations, which has 3 separate terminals rather than the usual 2.

  • My assumptions come from ignorance. Thanks – thatguy May 13 at 13:58
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    Ignorance can be cured! Let's hear it for self-education. Sometimes a basic book from the Library (remember those?) may be a bit easier to get an overview from than purely web-based resources. – Ecnerwal May 13 at 14:02
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    @thatguy a picture would still be helpful if you can edit the question, so that future browsers can see the context of the answer. – Sam_Butler May 13 at 15:12

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