I recently purchased a house from the 1970's and I have noticed a wiring issue. There are two switches to turn the garage lights on. Both use wiring that includes one red wire, one black wire, and one white wire. Neither has a ground wire. I have two questions. First, what wiring changes need done to make each light switch work independently of each other? Second, can I remove switch #2 and install an outlet instead of a switch? Thanks!

Note: I tested the wires with my klein voltage tester and it's showing the black wires are hot.

enter image description here

  • 3
    We'd need to know all about the colors of the screws on the switches, and how the wires are grouped into cables. Apr 18, 2021 at 1:20

1 Answer 1


What you have is a 3 way switch where one of the travelers has gotten mixed up with the common (black or brass screw where the other 2 are silver).

If you wanted to eliminate the 3 way functionality that is there it could be rewired to be a simple 120v circuit but your diagram doesn't show where the feed actually is.

  • Thanks, I rewired the incorrectly wired switch and both switches work as they should. For eliminating the 3-way functionality, I’m unsure what you’re asking for when you mentioned “your diagram doesn’t show where the feed actually is?”
    – cals400ex
    Apr 18, 2021 at 9:29
  • Right now you could put a receptacle in parallel with the light but it would be a switched receptacle just like the light. In some cases it depends where the source of power for the circuit is to tell you how to wire it to current code. That’s what I meant by where the feed is. The feed or supply is normally at a switch or the fixture itself you just show a basic sketch of the 3way circuit. For example it takes a hot and neutral at the lamp for it to work you have the red from each switch going there. Depending on where the feed is it may be possible to provide a single switch and receptacle
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 18, 2021 at 15:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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