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What is an intermediate switch?

What is an intermediate switch? 

An intermediate switch is a switch that is used in the middle of three way lighting circuit. That means that there are three switches controlling one light, or light switch circuit. The first and last switch on that circuit are two way switches. The middle switch is an intermediate switch. This ensures that the light can be controlled from all three switches at any time. 

The typical situation for this within the home is stairs lighting. It may be necessary to control the light from three locations. The bottom of the stairs, the top of the stairs and on the landing or, as in the illustration, at the top, middle and bottom of the stairs. In this situation the middle switch needs to be an intermediate switch. 

This setup can be expanded to more than threes switches. With a setup with four or more switches every switch in the middle of the circuit needs to be an intermediate switch. Once again the first and last switch on the circuit need to be two way.