Monday, December 21, 2015

Life with engineers #65

SH and I were visiting our friends Bonnie and Gary (the people who have brought bacon grease to our house and who had two jars of it waiting for us when we arrived). 

Gary is also an engineer.

Their house has several places where you can turn the lights on and off from more than one location, as in you can turn the lights on at the dining room side of the kitchen and off again at the den side. Or at the bottom of the stairs and then off again at the top.

Got it? Multiple locations to turn lights on and off. A system designed to make life easy - a system designed so a person can always have light when a person wants it.


This is a huge advantage and one we do not have with our basement stairs. If I want to go downstairs to watch TV in the dark, I can either go downstairs in the dark, which is a little dangerous, especially in an old house with stairs that are not to code, or with the lights on, which means I either have to leave the lights on or I have to turn on the basement lights and then walk back upstairs to turn off the stair lights.

I am always torn between extreme laziness and my fear of death by falling down the stairs.

I would like very much to have a light switch for the stairs light at the bottom of the stairs. That is technology working for us.

SH and Gary agreed that they would walk up or down the stairs IN THE DARK rather than have the downstairs light switch be in the down position to have the lights on.

They. Would. Risk. Death. just for an aesthetic principle.

At least with SH, this is the man who is completely untroubled by having four shaving cream cans on the bathroom counter.


Anonymous Mother said...

There is a top-of-the-stairs light switch in my house and also a bottom-of-the-stairs one. I have to admit that SOMETIMES I plan ahead when to flick the switch so that when the light is OFF, the switch at the top-of-the-stairs is down . . . I suppose there is therapy for people like me.

The Cosmic Avenger said...

Yep, we have two lights in our house that are like that, each controlled by two switches. Both are stairwell-adjacent, with switches at the top and bottom of the stairs. (To make it even more confusing, the proper name of this electrical setup is a "three-way switch".) I admit that I have one switch in each pair that I consider the primary switch, and I try to rearrange my life so that that one is up when the light is on, and down when the light is off.

I also just cannot get my head around how a three-way circuit works. And this is from someone who recabled the home theater setup just so that shorter cables were used for shorter runs, and that every source had a different colored cable.

Anonymous said...

My house has a long hallway with switches like these at either end, to turn the lights on or off. I had never considered that one of the switches is always "wrong". Or is it? Actually on consideration, they could be in any combination, since it is perfectly possible to turn the lights on at the front door, then off at the other switch later in the evening. Or off at the front door if you are going out again.

And where I live, in Australia, switches are on when they're down and off when they're up. This confuses me every time I visit the U.S..