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Combo Switch and Outlet Wiring in Bathrooms


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Identify the Electrical Wiring for a Combo Switch and Outlet: The sets of wires from two of the cables are spliced to each other which typically indicates that one cable is the power coming in.

Wiring a Combo Switch and Outlet

Electrical Question: I have a house built in 1963, but the bathroom has been remodeled sometime since then.

I would like to place two switches:

  1. One has two single-pole switches to control a vanity light and an exhaust fan.
  2. The other is a switch and outlet combo, with the switch controlling an overhead light and the outlet is independent of the switch.

When I removed the old covers here is what I discovered:

What does the fourth one do?

The combo box has three sets of wires:

This electrical question came from: Eve, a Homeowner from Dallas, Texas.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Eve.
Eve, this is a very good question.

Bathroom Circuit Wiring for Combo Switch and Outlet

Task: Identifying the Electrical Wiring

You may notice that in the Switch Box with the Four Cables.

The other Switch Box with the Combo Outlet

If the power for the outlet is shared with the power for the light switch then you will see the black wires from these devices spliced together or you will notice that the metal tab that connects the two portions of the outlet and the switch together on the brass screw side of the combo outlet switch. However, the power source for the outlet and the switch may be from separate sources which would be noticeable by observing the wiring.

Please Note:
Wiring sources and connections as mentioned above are best identified by an experienced licensed electrical contractor who understands electrical wiring and how to use a voltage tester to positively identify the circuit wiring.

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