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Posted By: Up2code Upside Down ThreeWay - 01/23/08 12:52 PM
Hello All! Homeowner told a fellow electrician I know that he installed a few three way toggle switches upside down, and that he would not pay final bill until they were turned around properly. Without arguing too much, he did what owner asked, and got paid. Am I missing something here? Has anyone else out there ever come across "upside down three ways"?
Posted By: ghost307 Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 01/23/08 01:42 PM
What did he use to determine that they were upside down???
There's no text on the handle.

I prefer to wire mine so that the load is off when both handles are down, but that's just a quirk that I have. It's not required by NEC or anything else that I'm familiar with.
Posted By: Rewired Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 01/23/08 01:47 PM
Thats bizarre, unless what the homeowner meant was that to have the lights on both toggles "should" be up or both toggles should be down sort of thing?? Not that it all matters much but ya know how fussy / strange some people can be!

Posted By: Last Leg Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 01/23/08 03:52 PM
So, what happens if both handles are down, lights off. Then, you go to one 3-way and turn the lights on - handle up. Then you go to the other three way, which is still in the down position, to turn the lights off? OOPS !! Handle is UP and lights are OFF !!! What's up with this???
Posted By: iwire Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 01/23/08 06:29 PM
Originally Posted by Last Leg

What's up with this???

Whats up is they have to much time on their hands. smile

But regarless of what postions you put the switches over time when returned to 'all down' the load can always be 'off'.....not that I would care. smile
Posted By: Up2code Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 01/24/08 03:03 AM
Job security, I guess. Every week you would have to go back and turn half of them back around to satisfy homeowner. Homeowner said "That is how previous electrician installed them, and he knew what he was doing." We still joke about it. Just wanted everyone else's thoughts.
Posted By: wa2ise Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 02/23/08 12:38 AM
Mount the 3 way switches horizontally. Then the issue of "up-side-down" goes away. laugh
Posted By: BPHgravity Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 02/23/08 01:31 AM
Perhaps if you show the homeowner that Section 404.7 Exception No. 1 permits the three ways to operate in the up or down position, they will be less concerned.

They may be under the impression that up always means "on", and that down always means "off".
Posted By: schenimann Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 02/23/08 02:52 AM
We did have to come behind another electrician on a res job and clean up some stuff. They had wired the red and black from all the ceiling fans to the runners on 3way switches. Up you got the light, down you got the fan, never neither or never both. Maybe he wanted the fan up and the light down.
Posted By: pauluk Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 02/24/08 08:59 AM
Originally Posted by wa2ise
Mount the 3 way switches horizontally. Then the issue of "up-side-down" goes away. laugh

But then you can argue about whether both switches left or both switches right is off, or whether one left and one right is off! grin

I've found the thing which confuses some people is where you have two 3-ways on a dual plate, e.g. for ceiling and counter lights in a kitchen which has two doorways. They sometimes can't grasp that depending upon the position of the switches at the other end of the room, there will be a time when you have to move one switch up to turn on a light and the other down.

Posted By: Ann Brush Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 03/25/08 03:58 PM
Perhaps I am one of "those" homeowners. I have several (3 and 4 way) in the house and requested that when all handles are down the lights are off (I don't care if the lights are off or on if one / more handles are up), I just like it that way.
Posted By: SteveFehr Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 03/25/08 04:02 PM
There is a fix for this: Push-buttons!
Posted By: Rewired Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 03/28/08 11:19 PM
Yep.. " Douglas Low Voltage Controls".. Those would work nice here but would be pricey... Just don't use the switches with the little red and green status LED indicator in them, as the homeowner will probably argue that "red = stop = OFF, Green = go = ON" when Douglas stuff is set up " Red = CLOSED relay contact, Green = OPEN relay contact"!

Posted By: SteveFehr Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 03/31/08 04:08 PM
Lutron makes some nice pushbutton switches, too. We've got one pushbutton 3-way with an integrated dimmer. Never have to worry about up/down with it.
Posted By: pauluk Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 04/06/08 11:32 AM
I just changed out some switches and receptacles for a neighbor's kitchen to those fancy matt-black finish types to match his remodel, and he said that he prefers the 3-ways to be arranged so that one up/one down=on and both up/down=off.
Posted By: KJay Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 04/06/08 02:36 PM
I guess I’m one of those anal types. When I install 3-way and 4-way switches, I always reverse the travelers on the opposite end so I can stage the room with the lights off and all switches in the down position. I like to connect Skylark and similar style 3-way dimmers with the little horizontal toggle switches on them so that I can stage them all with the left sides depressed when off, like on the single-pole dimmers.
If I don’t do it, it feels like the job is incomplete, just like if I don’t level the wall plates and set all the plate screw so the slots are vertical. If the plate screws are Phillips head, then I like the slots to be set level so they look like a cross and all devices must protrude the same depth through the plates.
Another thing I can’t stand is when the bulb socket height in recessed lights are not adjusted when the trims are installed, so that the bulbs all protrude the same amount. eek
To me, little details like this just make the job more professional overall. Many customers expect these things to be done and really do notice if they are not.
Posted By: Trumpy Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 04/17/21 10:25 AM
Until the Inspector appears......
Posted By: Bill Addiss Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 04/27/21 12:48 PM
I'm with KJay,

I used to do the same things with the switches and screws. It just seemed like the right thing to do crazy
Posted By: emolatur Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 05/03/21 02:23 AM
ohhh you and I would not get along smile

My standard is, assuming I am the only frequent user of a hall or set of stairs, the "off" state should be with one switch up, one switch down.

I should be able to turn the light on from one end, walk to the other end, and turn it off. Then, a couple hours later, I start from the latter end, turn the light on, walk back to the start, and turn it off. It does not feel right to turn a light on by flipping the switch down, or off by flipping it up. Thus, the switch on the end that I am at should be down for off, while the other should be UP since the light will be on by the time I get to that switch.
Posted By: gfretwell Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 05/03/21 04:27 AM
I am all down equals off too.
Posted By: HotLine1 Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 05/03/21 04:02 PM
Solve that issue with the Decora style switches! Case Closed.
Posted By: gfretwell Re: Upside Down ThreeWay - 05/04/21 06:55 AM
Decora still has an up and down.
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