In my living room is a ceiling light controlled by 3 switches within the living room. Two switches are 3-way and one switch is a 4-way. I would like to completely eliminate one of the 3-ways from the circuit. I would also like to use the existing 4-way as a 3-way if that is possible unless replacing it with a 3-way switch is recommended. The goal is to utilize two 3-way switches for the ceiling light. Regarding the 3-way switch that I want to eliminate, I will keep it intact and use it for the fireplace. Can I keep power to that switch in that gang box? That is another project.

  • 1
    Start by drawing the wiring diagram before you make any changes. That way you will see what you have to change.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 20:09
  • 2
    Where are these switches located in the living room? There are code requirements for switch locations when entering a room.
    – JACK
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 20:09
  • Two switches are located on either end of the room where we enter/exit. These are a 3-way and 4-way. The 3rd switch is on an adjacent wall never used.
    – Tony
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 20:38
  • I take it you want to remove the 3rd switch that's on an adjacent wall, right? Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 1:07

1 Answer 1


Start out by removing the 3-way you want to eliminate. Connect the wire from the black screw terminal or common to one of the two travelers that were connected to the 3-way; wire nut the other traveler. Now remove the 4-way switch and connect the two travelers from the 3-way you're keeping to the new 3-way you'll be installing there. You don't want to keep the 4-way there. Mark the two travelers with yellow tape. Take the wire you previously connected to the wire from the common terminal of the eliminated 3-way to the new 3-way black screw or common. Wire nut the other old traveler.

The vacated switch box will still have power if the common that was there was hot. If it's not, then the other original 3-way will have the hot and you can eliminate that 3-way if it works for you by following the same procedure

Again, this is how to do it but you have to make sure you're not in violation of code.

  • Just wondering why not just leave the 4-way switch? With the extra traveler open at the other end, it’ll work fine as is.
    – DoxyLover
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 1:14
  • 2
    @DoxyLover My thinking was for future trouble shooting. Just a good idea to wire it correct. Some poor guy on this site might have to answer questions about it years from now.
    – JACK
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 1:25
  • Thank you both. Job completed.
    – Tony
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 16:34

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