Electrical Wiring for Switched Wall Sockets

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Wire a Wall Switched Outlets: Basic Wiring Configuration for Half Hot Outlets, Wiring Outlets to be Controlled by a Switch and Wiring Outlets to Not be Controlled by a Switch.

Wiring Switch Controlled Wall Sockets

Electrical Question: I have a home wall switch wiring problem. I think someone who owned the home before me changed the wiring so that 5 wall sockets are always hot.

  • There are red and black with 110 v connected to wall switch which fails to turn off any one of the 5 electrical sockets (Note wall switch passes continuity test ).
  • 5 wall sockets are always on.
  • I did the following electrical troubleshooting:
    • I disconnect the red wire and black wire from the wall switch.
    • All 5 wall sockets are dead and have 0 volts.
  • I don’t understand how 2 hot leads can control 5 wall sockets and each socket has 110 volts because they are parallel.
  • Can you advise me how to wire the switch so that the wall switch can power only 1 wall socket and the other 4 wall sockets are always hot.
  • The current wiring configuration is:
    • 4 white wires
    • 4 black wires ( 0 voltage on theses )when using VOM between white and black wires 0 volts
    • As mentioned above have 1 black and 1 red have 110v when testing with using VOM

This home electrical wiring question came from: Bill , a Handyman from Vallejo, California.
See more about Home Wiring for California
Additional Comments: I’m looking forward to getting a wiring diagram to help me correctly wire this wall switch

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electric wiring question Bill.

How to Wire a Wall Switched Outlets

Application: Wiring a Half Hot Switched Outlet.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best Installed by a Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician.
Tools Required: Specific to the scope of the work and the condition of the home and project. Electricians Tools, including Pouch of Hand Tools, Power Tools, Drill motor and Auger Drill Bits and Extension Cords, and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and install electrical wiring.
Precaution: Identify the circuit power source at the panel, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before installing wiring or working or making connections.

Basic Wiring Configuration for Half Hot Switched Outlets

  • A typical wall socket or receptacle has two outlets, one on the top and one on the bottom, this is also referred to a Duplex Receptacle.
  • A half hot outlet is where one  outlet is controlled by a wall switch, and the other outlet is hot all the time.
  • The switched outlet mus have the circuit power source connected to the switch, and then to the switched outlet.
  • The outlet that is not switched has the circuit power connected directly to the outlet.

Wiring Outlets to be Controlled by a Switch

  • If you want the wall plugs to be controlled by the switch then a wire from the power source must be installed to the switch and then to the outlets.

Wiring Outlets to Not be Controlled by a Switch

  • If the wall plugs are now controlled by a switch but you would like them to be hot all the time then an additional wire must be installed from the power source to the outlets that you do not wish to be controlled by the wall switch.
  • Another option is to remove the power wires from the wall switch and splice them together, therefore the switch will be bypassed and the outlets will be hot all the time.

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