How to Wire a Leviton Three-Way Dimmer

Leviton three-way dimmer switches are wired in conjunction with a Leviton coordinating remote.

Wire nuts are used to connect the dimmer switch pigtail leads to the circuit wires.Wire nuts are used to connect the dimmer switch pigtail leads to the circuit wires.
The coordinating remote may or may not have a light emitting diode (LED) built into its handle. There are a number of different wiring configurations. You need to print out the Leviton diagrams. You will be working with diagram #5. With this installation, you will be able to use the existing 3-way switch wiring. The differences between a "coordinating dimmer remote" and a "coordinating switch remote" is that the former gives you complete control of the light, while the latter simply allows you to turn the light on or off.

Turn off the circuit breaker controlling the branch lighting circuit. Remove the switch plates. Remove the 6-32 screws securing the old 3-way switches in the device boxes.

Pull the old switches from the box, being careful not to touch their terminal screws.

Check the wires bringing the power from the service panel to the first device box using the digital multimeter. The digital multimeter power switches to the "on" position. Set the meter's function switch to the "AC Volts" function. Touch one of the meter test probes to the black wire, and the other probe to the bare ground wire. If the circuit is safe, the meter's Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) will display 0.000.

Loosen the terminal screws and disconnect all the wires from the old switches. Cut the loops from the ends of the wires with the wire cutters. Remove 1/2 inch of insulation from the ends of the wires with the wire strippers.

Splice the black pigtail wire on the dimmer switch to the black wire bringing power from the service panel. To make this splice, hold the stripped ends of the wires side-by-side and screw on a wire nut. Splice the "Red" and the "Yellow/Red" pigtail wires to the circuit "traveler" wire carrying the power to the second switch. The 'Traveler' wires will be the "Red" and "Black" wires entering the second cable. The cable coming from the service panel will have one black wire, one white wire, and one bare wire. The other cable will have one red wire, one black wire, one white wire, and one bare wire.

Splice the green pigtail wire to the two bare copper wires. Make this splice just as you spliced the pigtail wires to the circuit wires.

Connect all the pigtail wires on the coordinating remote. The black pigtail wire connects to the black wire, carrying the power to the lighting outlet.

Install the switches in the device boxes using the 6-32 screws that came with them. Install their cover plates. Turn on the circuit breaker. You should now be able to turn the lights on and off, and control the light level from either location.

Things You Will Need

  • Leviton three-way dimmer switch
  • Leviton coordinating remote (dimmer or switch)
  • Digital multimeter
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Lineman's pliers
  • Wire buts
  • Black plastic electrical tape

About the Author

Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., Jerry Walch has been writing articles for the DIY market since 1974. His work has appeared in “Family Handyman” magazine, “Popular Science,” "Popular Mechanics," “Handy” and other publications. Walch spent 40 years working in the electrical trades and holds an Associate of Applied Science in applied electrical engineering technology from Alvin Junior College.