When we first moved into our house (Ontario, Canada) our light switches worked perfectly fine. But after painting our hallway a few years ago it has never been the same.

Switch 1- Operates Living Room Hall light and Front Door Hallway light. Still works fine today as when we moved in.

Switch 2- Did operate our garage door outside light when we moved in.

Switch 3- Did operate our Front door pot light when we moved in.

Switch 2 has a top wire connected to switch 3.

We want the lights to operate back on their individual switch. Wondering if it’s something easy before calling in an electrician!

Thank you!

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  • Sorry I missed some information. Instead of switch 2 and Switch 3 operating separately Switch 2 now runs both lights. Switch 3 does nothing.
    – user161392
    Jan 11, 2023 at 4:29
  • What happens when you connect that marked wire to sw 3
    – Traveler
    Jan 11, 2023 at 4:32
  • When I do connect the third wire marked in yellow to the bottom absolutely nothing happens. Switch 2 continues to operate both lights.
    – user161392
    Jan 11, 2023 at 4:36
  • the bridge wire sw2-sw3 is on the wrong screws
    – Traveler
    Jan 11, 2023 at 5:27
  • 2
    Where the switches completely removed from the wall before painting, then not reinstalled correctly? Were the switches left in place, but the wiring painted to prevent the flow of electricity? What does "did operate" mean? Do these lights no longer come on at all? Do they come on to the wrong switch? Please edit some additional info into your question.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 11, 2023 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


This should actually be fairly simple.

The 3 way switch works fine. It's out of this equation.

You have 3 remaining black wires and a bridge wire.

2 of the black wires go to power your lights.

1 black wire should be the hot supply for the switches. Find that one. Mark it with some tape, then turn the breaker back off.
Attach that marked wire to one of the switches. ( it doesn't matter top or bottom screw) The bridge wire then transfers power to the other switch. Your hot wire may be one that loops around a screw and can continue to the other switch. This is great. (There is the hot for both switches)

Attach the 2 remaining black wires to the open screws on the switches.

Turn the breaker back on

You then have power into the switches and switched power out.

  • 1
    "The bridge wire then transfers power to the other switch" wouldn't this require either putting two wires under one screw (not installing them per instructions for these switches), or using a backstab (if the switches have one) and highly NOT recommended? It needs a pigtail from the unswitched hot to both switches, then the switched hot to to other screws.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 11, 2023 at 14:04
  • Three black wires coming in. 1st wire- The bridge wire is actually the live wire. 2nd wire- when connected to switch 2 it still operates both lights. 3rd wire- For some reason after connecting and finding out where the live wire is this third wire when connected still does nothing.
    – user161392
    Jan 11, 2023 at 18:10

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