I have a light in the entry hallway that has four switches that can turn it on. Lately if I turn this light off using the upstairs switch, none of the others can turn it back on until I turn the upstairs one on again.

It does not happen when turning it on, or from any of the other switches.

Does this mean the upstairs switch should be replaced, or the other three?

  • 3
    it means the upstairs one is either broken or miswired Jan 16, 2014 at 17:23
  • I am guessing broken as it worked fine for two years and just recently started doing this.
    – zk.
    Jan 17, 2014 at 15:32

1 Answer 1


I'd start by turning off the power at the breaker, and verifying it's off using a non-contact voltage tester. Remove the cover plate, and remove the screws holding the switch in place. Gently pull the switch out of the box, being careful not to pull too hard. Verify that all the wires are firmly attached, and are not broken or damaged.

If nothing looks amiss, replace the switch. If this does not solve the problem, follow the same procedure with each of the other switches. There should be two 3-way switches, and two 4-way switches. Be sure to replace switches with an appropriate replacement. If all the switches have been replaced, and the problem persists. Contact a local licensed Electrician.

  • it is also possible that one of the switched wires between the upstairs (presumably a 3-way) and the connecting 4-way is broken, fixing this would require running a new wire Jan 17, 2014 at 15:37

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