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Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 06, 2012 09:29AM
Poll
Walking into an unfamiliar house, what's your expectation for how to work the lights?
Only registered users are allowed to vote for this poll.
47 votes were received.
The left switch controls the foyer and the right controls the stairway light. (Switch nearest to light controls it.) 31
 
66%
The right switch controls the foyer and the left controls the stairway light. (Switch nearest your path direction controls light you want on when you get there.) 5
 
11%
This useless poll I clicked on stole 15 seconds of my life. 11
 
23%





Red arrow points to double wall switch. To the left is the foyer with a typical overhead light. To the right is a staircase with a typical overhead light at the top of the stairs. (Yes, both are 3-way switches but you're located at the double switch plate at the bottom of the stairs.)

Thanks!
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: Rick-o
Date: January 06, 2012 09:34AM
I have a similar switch, and mine is set up left switch foyer, right switch staircase.



Mr. Lahey: A lot of people, don’t know how to drink. They drink against the grain of the liquor. And when you drink against the grain of the liquor? You lose.

Randy: What the @#$%& are you talking about?
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: Grateful11
Date: January 06, 2012 09:34AM
Since you're asking I'm going to assume they're backwards. I voted for the first answer.



Grateful11
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: January 06, 2012 09:42AM
QUIT WASTING TIME POSTING ON THE FORUM AND JUST REWIRE THE DAMN THINGS!


;)
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: billb
Date: January 06, 2012 09:47AM
I know an electrician who would argue the first switch approaching the stairs should be for the stairs and the first switch approaching the foyer should be for the foyer.


I would want the one on the right doing the stairs and the one on the left doing the foyer because it would seem more logical.
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: January 06, 2012 09:47AM
The guys that wired our house put in a FOUR way switch set in a main hall. each doorway into the hall has a switch outside it that turns two main hall lights on or off. It's so weird...

And I get a little obsessive, and go around and turn them all to 'off' (down).
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: billb
Date: January 06, 2012 09:49AM
Shouldn't have to rewire, just move.
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 06, 2012 09:56AM
They are wired not as most of you seem to expect. They are wired as in the second choice. And I'm with you too; it's been unintuitive for me.

The reason I haven't already "fixed it" is because after 10 years of home ownership I'm now beginning to see the logic in keeping it how it is, by considering the direction I'm walking ... where that logic falls apart is when you're located right at the corner, headed left of right.
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: earache
Date: January 06, 2012 10:01AM
While your kids are busy writing on the walls just have them clearly label each light switch... viola, no more guess work!



earache
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: January 06, 2012 10:02AM
They are about one inch apart. After one day to become accustomed, I doubt I'd give it another thought.

I've got friends with four switches at the bottom of the steps: side door outside light, steps, upstairs landing, mystery switch to nowhere. Now that takes some getting used to.



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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: Jem
Date: January 06, 2012 10:06AM
This kind of thing bugs me, too. Especially in 3 or 4 gang switches.

And don't get me started on the switches by the kitchen sink that control the light and garbage disposal.
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: bazookaman
Date: January 06, 2012 10:11AM
Quote
Jem
This kind of thing bugs me, too. Especially in 3 or 4 gang switches.

And don't get me started on the switches by the kitchen sink that control the light and garbage disposal.

We have the light, garbage disposal AND dishwasher. Although at 5AM, the accidental garbage disposal hit is the most jarring.




__________________________________
Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: testcase
Date: January 06, 2012 10:43AM
Quote
$tevie
They are about one inch apart. After one day to become accustomed, I doubt I'd give it another thought.

I've got friends with four switches at the bottom of the steps: side door outside light, steps, upstairs landing, mystery switch to nowhere. Now that takes some getting used to.


Re:" mystery switch to nowhere"

I'd guess that switch might control a nearby outlet (or even just one plug of a duplex outlet).
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: Trouble
Date: January 06, 2012 11:00AM
Quote
billb
I know an electrician who would argue the first switch approaching the stairs should be for the stairs and the first switch approaching the foyer should be for the foyer.

Interesting. I can see that.
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: OWC Jamie
Date: January 06, 2012 11:02AM
When I was an electrician, the first switch you came to was supposed to be the one in the path being traveled. Therefore left = stairs, right = foyer.



Good Luck!
Jamie Dresser
Other World Computing
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: January 06, 2012 11:27AM
Quote
OWC Jamie
When I was an electrician, the first switch you came to was supposed to be the one in the path being traveled. Therefore left = stairs, right = foyer.

Was there any actual code requirement for that arrangement?

As for my choice, I would do the first setup with switches spatially setup to correspond to the location of the controlled lights. I believe that also would be the arrangement recommended by human factors researchers. For a pair of switches though that is less of an issue, but it does get more important for more switches ganged together.
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: 3d
Date: January 06, 2012 11:28AM
Quote
OWC Jamie
When I was an electrician, the first switch you came to was supposed to be the one in the path being traveled. Therefore left = stairs, right = foyer.

What if you approached the light switch diagonally? damn you smiley
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: Jem
Date: January 06, 2012 11:33AM
That actually makes a fair amount of sense.

However my mind must be wired differently because when I look at a switch I think, "which switch is most proximal to which light or function." And then, if being equal (as in my sink light and disposal example) which is used most frequently (the kitchen light). Thus in the case of the kitchen sink gang, the first switch one should encounter (closest to the sink) should be the light... not the disposal.

The logic you provide works for lights-only-in-line-of-travel, but breaks down when other elements are added in... like multiple lights in a given room or space.

Funny how two can view such an issue from fundamentally different perspectives... like the old toilet paper roll dispensing from the front, or the back.


Quote
OWC Jamie
When I was an electrician, the first switch you came to was supposed to be the one in the path being traveled. Therefore left = stairs, right = foyer.
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: OWC Jamie
Date: January 06, 2012 11:35AM
Quote
JoeH
Quote
OWC Jamie
When I was an electrician, the first switch you came to was supposed to be the one in the path being traveled. Therefore left = stairs, right = foyer.

"Was there any actual code requirement for that arrangement?"

Just that as you walked, you have to be able to illuminate the pathway in front of you. It's more common sense that the first switch you touch from left to right should be the one in front of you.



Good Luck!
Jamie Dresser
Other World Computing
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: January 06, 2012 11:52AM
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 06, 2012 12:19PM
Quote
Jem

Funny how two can view such an issue from fundamentally different perspectives... like the old toilet paper roll dispensing from the front, or the back.

Oh no---you did NOT just "go there". All right-thinking people know which way is correct.
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: January 06, 2012 01:02PM
Quote
OWC Jamie
Just that as you walked, you have to be able to illuminate the pathway in front of you. It's more common sense that the first switch you touch from left to right should be the one in front of you.

Okay then, the "common sense" that works if you are right-handed, etc. but does break down under further scrutiny. It will work for some fraction, but not all of the possible users and cases.
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: Jem
Date: January 06, 2012 01:28PM
Quote
deckeda
Quote
Jem

Funny how two can view such an issue from fundamentally different perspectives... like the old toilet paper roll dispensing from the front, or the back.

Oh no---you did NOT just "go there". All right-thinking people know which way is correct.





Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2012 01:29PM by Jem.
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: OWC Jamie
Date: January 06, 2012 03:08PM
I understand that there are left handed people out there, but did they learn to read left to right or right to left?

smiling smiley



Good Luck!
Jamie Dresser
Other World Computing
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Re: Which wall switch would you expect controls which light?
Posted by: WHiiP
Date: January 07, 2012 06:27AM
Quote
OWC Jamie
I understand that there are left handed people out there, but did they learn to read left to right or right to left?

smiling smiley


Lefties can't read at all.



Bill
Flagler Beach, FL 32136

Carpe Vino!

Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire.
— David Rains Wallace
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