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#100644 12/07/06 10:02 AM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
(2) Additional Locations

(C) Where one or more lighting outlets are installed for interior stairways, there shall be a wall switch at each level, and landing level that includes an entry way, to control the lighting outlets where the stairway between the floor levels has six risers or more.


Would this require a 3-way switching device in both an unfinished attic and basement?

I don't think it would because is clearly says "landing level that includes an entry way."

2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides
#100645 12/07/06 11:19 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
If the stairs are permanent, I'd say 'yes.' I would not apply this to 'pull-down' attic ladders, or to 'root cellar' type covered steps to the basement.

#100646 12/07/06 12:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
IMO the NEC never requires 3 ways.

You could meet that requirement with single poles controlling lights on each respective landing.

Your customer will not like it but it is more of a design issue than a code issue.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
#100647 12/07/06 01:12 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615

I would consider the basement or attic a level regardless of entry way. The entry way wording is a modifier to landing, not level.

Following iwire's letter of the law interpretaion, where are we even required to have stairway illumination according to NEC?

#100648 12/07/06 05:57 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
210.70 (A) (2) (A) requires the need for a switch-controlled lighting outlet on stairways.

#100649 12/07/06 07:31 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,283
Likes: 3

I have to agree with Reno, and Bob (Iwire)

Basically, a 'good' design (also referred to as common sense) would want a switch at each level of permanent stairs.

I can't remember when I saw an attic with stairway, or a basement NOT have a 3-way system.


#100650 12/07/06 07:56 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
Sorry, misplaced my 2002 CD and'99 is layed out suprisingly different. (got lazy and didn't open a book or even think... short-lived mistake around here)

John, how could you agree with reno and iwire? Reno say's a 3-way is required and Bob says it isn't.

You have to have a switch on each level. So your options are:

(2) single poles operating (2) or more seperate lighting openings,

(2) 3-ways operating (1) or more lighting openings

Occupancy sensor or some other automatically controlled system.

[This message has been edited by Jps1006 (edited 12-07-2006).]

#100651 12/07/06 08:03 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,283
Likes: 3

OK, perhaps I have to clear the fog.....

3-ways are NOT required by the NEC, as Bob said, leading to the SP at each 'level', and multiple lampholders/luminaires.

Design wise, and common sense, and basically what a 'good ec does is install 3-ways, 4-ways, etc.


#100652 12/07/06 11:13 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,673
Likes: 7
I agree the 3 way on the steps is really a design issue but I would want the EC to try to explain this design choice, with a straight face.
"OK so the plan is, you turn on the bottom light, go upstairs, turn on the top light, then go down and turn off the bottom light and go back up, turning off that light as you go on down the hall".

If the EC can say "yes that was my plan" without one of us laughing I guess I have to accept it.

Greg Fretwell
#100653 12/07/06 11:24 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,438
I remember living in a 2 floor apartment once that didn't have 3 ways... the stairs were right as you walk in the door to the right, so the entryway light covered the bottom floor.. but then once you got upstairs, you had to get to the opposite wall of the hallway to turn on the upstairs light...

I always did think it was annoying having to walk down or up in the dark, or just leave it on [Linked Image]

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