The Ultimate Three-way Switches Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

You are ready for bed and want to walk up the stairs to the bedroom. At the bottom you flick a switch to turn on the stairway lights and when you get to the top there is another switch to turn the same lights off. It's thanks to three-way switches that you can do this. Learn all about these special switches by taking this quiz.

How many switches do you need to construct a three-way switch circuit?

Despite its name, you need only two switches for a three-way switch circuit.

Advertisement

What is the wire that carries the current often called?

The wire carrying the current is commonly known as the "hot" wire.

Advertisement

How many wires run through a piece of Romex?

Three wires run through Romex: two insulated wires, each a different color, and one bare grounding wire.

Advertisement

What material is a Romex sheath made from?

The Romex sheath is made from plastic to keep it well insulated.

Advertisement

An electrician wires Romex between the power outlets and the _____?

All outlets and switches are wired to the fuse box.

Advertisement

What size Romex would you usually find in a normal household?

Romex for household use is normally 12- or 14-gauge Romex.

Advertisement

What is different about the special Romex used for wiring a three-way switch?

The special Romex needed for a three-way switch has an extra insulated wire in a different color to the normal two.

Advertisement

What is the purpose of a three-way light switch?

A three-way light switch allows you to control a light from two switches in different locations. This would enable you to turn the lights on your staircase on or off from the top or the bottom.

Advertisement

Why can't you mark the on and off positions on a three-way switch?

The idea of a three-way switch is that both switches can turn the circuit on and off, so the on and off position would be different each time.

Advertisement

What does the "three" in a three-way switch refer to?

A three-way switch gets its name due to the three terminals in each switch.

Advertisement

When wiring a switch, where would you put the three-way Romex?

You would put three-way Romex between the two three-way switches, and normal Romex in the rest of the circuit.

Advertisement

What must you do before testing electrical wiring?

Make sure the power to the light circuit is switched off from the fuse box before doing any electrical work.

Advertisement

What tool can you use to find out how your house is wired?

An ohmmeter or continuity detector is the only way you can find out how your house was wired, unless you are in contact with the electrician who wired it!

Advertisement

If one three-way switch is stuck, what would happen?

Since each three-way switch independently turns the light on or off, if one gets stuck the other would still work, but it would now function as a normal switch.

Advertisement

Should three-way switches be wired in series or parallel?

Depending on how the circuit is arranged, it can be set up in series or in parallel.

Advertisement

Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!