enter image description hereI am in the process of renovating the livingroom in my 1930's era house which only has two non-switched outlets in one 12x12 room. I would like some receptacles to have one switched and one non-switched outlet so I can plug a lamp into the bottom outlet controlled from the wall.

My plan is to run 14/3 to each of these boxes with the Black wire as Hot and the Red wire as switched using two three-way switches and connecting the red as a switched wire through a junction box.

On the input-side switch box, I will run a 14/2 romex from the breaker (via junction box) and then use a 14/3 as a traveler to the outside switch box. 14/2 Black wire to common and black/red of the 14/3 for travelers. White wires I will connect together with a nut. Ground wires I will connect together with a nut.

On the output-side switch box, I will run that 14/3 with the travelers and a 14/2 romex to a junction box. Red/black of the 14/3 to the traveler screws. Black of the 14/2 to common. White wires I will connect together with a nut. Ground wires I will connect together with a nut.

At the junction box I will connect a 14/2 romex back to the same junction box that goes back to the breaker panel, the 14/2 romex from the output-side switch, and a 14/3 romex that will go to my outlet receptacles. The black from the 14/2 feed line I will connect to the black of the 14/3. The black from the 14/2 output-side switch box I will connect to the red of the 14/3. White wires I will connect together with a nut. Ground wires I will connect together with a nut.

I believe this circuit will work, but is my use of a junction box to connect switched and non-switched feeds to one 14/3 up to code? Or do I need to rethink my solution / give up and use one switch?

  • Considering the quality of other "is this wired correctly?" questions I've seen, this deserves way more than a +1. Heck, I'll even pitch in to get you some different color dry erase markers! ;)
    – FreeMan
    May 7, 2016 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


Your problem is that you have looped/paralleled the neutral (white) wire both through and around the 3-way switches, which can be interpreted as a NEC 300.3(B)/310.10(H) violation.

What I would do instead is run a 14/4 between the two 3-way switches, with black as the unswitched hot and red and blue as the travelers, then run a 14/3 from the 2nd switch box to the first outlet -- this also saves you a j-box.

  • 1
    This would be the correct way under current code.
    – Ed Beal
    May 7, 2016 at 15:15
  • This makes way more sense than my attempt! May 7, 2016 at 17:21
  • To throw in another twist, I can only fit a 14cu" box where I want the input switch to be thanks to a natural gas pipe (I think it's abandoned, but I don't want to find out the hard way) in the wall. From my understanding, I would only be able to fit the 14/4 and the switch in one of these, and even then it will be a tight fit. Is it valid to add a junction box before the input-side switch that would connect 14/2 from the breaker to the black & white on the 14/4, terminating the other conductors with nuts, and terminating the white behind the switch with a nut? May 7, 2016 at 17:26
  • @peteroptional -- use an extension box instead ;) May 7, 2016 at 17:27

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