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# 3-way Wiring with 14/4

#1
02-06-16, 03:26 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 2
3-way Wiring with 14/4

I bought a house where the previous owners did a remodel. Everything was done in the "this is how you shouldn't do this" mentality, from plumbing to electrical. My latest project is to fix what was once 2, 3-way switches which control a set of lights in the laundry room.

The initial wiring was performed in a switch loop, where line power feeds into light #1 first. A wiring diagram of how it was originally wired (when the house was built) is below:

An additional requirement of mine is to leave a neutral in both switch boxes (which I believe is code these days) and I need the neutral to power my ZWave In-Wall switches anyway. I think the easiest/cleanest way to accomplish this would be to run 14/4 wire (instead of the 14/3 in the diagram).

Question #1: Is my guess of using 14/4 wire in this application with the above requirement the best way to accomplish this?

Question #2: Referring to the wiring diagram, the light where the line power is coming into the light box has a total of 9 conductor wires going into the box... 3, 2-wire and 1, 3-wire. If I use a 4-wire (instead of the 3-wire), that would make it 10 conductors. The 5" can light housing I'm using attaches to a metal box to contain all the wires. The box says:

MAXIMUM of 4 No. 12 AWG through branch circuit conductor suitable for 90 degree C permitted in box (4 in & 4 out).
Can anyone translate what this means exactly? Will 10, 14 AWG conductors be "too much" for a box with the above quoted max? How do you "calculate" the max for 14 AWG?

** Side note -- the 6" can light by same manufacturer has a box that says it is MAX rated for 8 No. 12 AWG (twice the 5" can rating), but the boxes look identical(??).

Thanks for anyone who can shed any light on the subject - pardon the pun.

#2
02-06-16, 04:27 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Is my guess of using 14/4 wire in this application with the above requirement the best way to accomplish this?
If you can find it in less than a whole roll. Easiest is the bring power into the switch box. Or use ENT and individual conductors.

#3
02-06-16, 04:45 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 2
Yes, I see I can't find 14/4 unless I buy a 250/ft length.

I agree about the wiring digram you provided as being easier. The reason I haven't opted for something like that is because all the wiring is non-accessible except for whatever holes I decide to punch into the ceiling... no attic access. If I want to pull a cable through (to replace with 14/3 or 14/4), I would have to remove any staples it was nailed down with before pulling. I may just have to take down the entire ceiling to do this regardless.

#4
02-06-16, 04:49 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
As I wrote you can use ENT (Smurf tubing) and THHN instead of 4-conductor cable.