I have some very old light switches that power the lights in my kitchen and dining area. There is 2 switches for each light source on each side of the kitchen/dining area, im trying to figure out where what wires go where on my new switches. Ive attached some photos that hopefully will help. Im replacing the old light switches with just basic Leviton flat style switches that toggle up or down. These - http://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-Decora-15-Amp-Single-Pole-AC-Quiet-Switch-White-10-Pack-M32-05601-2WM/202204204

So any help would be greatly appreciated

Old Light Switch

  • 2
    Are the switches you linked the switches you bought? They're only 2-way switches - the pictured ones above are 3-way.
    – Comintern
    Aug 8, 2015 at 1:37
  • Yes they are the exact switches I bought, Im afraid im fairly new to do it yourself electrical, and the guy at depot said theyd work fine for what I needed em for. Im guessing by your answer I need to head back to depot and get the same switches but the 3-Way version? Would you have a reference from the Home Depot website that you could give me?
    – Chad
    Aug 8, 2015 at 1:43
  • homedepot.com/p/…
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 8, 2015 at 1:47
  • 2
    Nice clear pictures, by the way.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 8, 2015 at 2:04
  • 1
    When changing out the switches, make sure you note and label where each wire goes. There will be one "common", which will use a different color screw then the other two. You'll also have two "travellers", which will attach to the other screw terminals. The travellers can be interchanged, so it's not important to label them uniquely.
    – Tester101
    Aug 8, 2015 at 2:20

1 Answer 1


Since the setup now is two switches to control each light (what is known as a three-way switch) the new switches need to be the same type. A simple switch that is not a "three way switch" (they will be so labeled) won't replace those.

Return the simple switches and buy 3-way switches - then it will be easy to proceed.

  • Well I need the 2-way simple switches for the other switches in the house. I want to replace all the old toggle style with the newer flat style. And its only the 2 switches in the kitchen/dining area that have 2 switches for the light source.
    – Chad
    Aug 8, 2015 at 1:47
  • Then you won't need the "5-pack" - They also sell singles.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 8, 2015 at 1:49
  • Im guessing these are the ones I need to match the other ones I have - homedepot.com/p/… - also its 4 switches total and I believe the hallway light has a dual light switch setup also now that I think of it.
    – Chad
    Aug 8, 2015 at 1:50
  • Oh also would the switches on the other walls that operate the light require a 3 way switch also or just the 2-way? Didn't know if they needed to be 3 or 2 way for the other ones.
    – Chad
    Aug 8, 2015 at 1:52
  • Both switches (where two control one light) need to be 3-way switches (or you can use a dimmer that works as a 3-way switch for one of them.) If you have 3 switches controlling one light that's a (you guessed, didn't you?) 4-way switch (less common) though it gets more complex (IIRC you use two 3-way and one 4-way, and if more switches are needed you use more 4-ways - but I'd have to look it up, that one makes my head hurt - it's also rarely seen in a normal house.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 8, 2015 at 1:58

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.