Wiring a Switch Outlet Combination


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Wire a Combo Switch Outlet: These switch outlets are pretty handy and once the wiring designations are understood the wiring can be a snap.


Combination Switch and Outlet Combination

Electrical Question: I would like to replace a single light switch with a combination switch with pilot light and outlet.

The switch works well to put on/off the light. However, the outlet does not work if the switch is not at the ON position. The wiring instructions I used are identified with a star in the attached document (SINGLE POLE SWITCH AND GROUNDING RECEPTACLE – COMMON FEED (BRAKE-OFF TAB INTACT).

Please advise. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Serge

This electrical wiring question came from: Serge, a Homeowner from Montreal, Canada.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Serge.

Wiring a Combo Switch Outlet

Application: Wiring a Combo Switch Outlet and Pilot Light.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best installed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional fixture wiring should be done with a permit and be inspected.

How to Wire a Combo Switch Outlet

Electrical Tips for Wiring Switch Outlet Combination Devices

The Following will assist you with your Switch Outlet Combo:

Electrical Code

Wiring Diagrams

Electrical outlet wiring
outlet-wiring

Electrical wire
electrical-wire

junction boxes
electrical-wiring

For more information about Light Switch Wiring
Light Switch Wiring
Light Switch Wiring



 
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Wiring Home Electrical Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.

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5 Responses to “Wiring a Switch Outlet Combination”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Mark,
    Typically we use a voltage tester or a continuity tester to help identify the wiring for light fixtures and exhaust fans. In many instances when a cable has a white wire which has voltage and the black does not, then the white and black wire are being used for the switching process. For example: the light fixture would have a separate cable with the power source up at the light fixture, where the white wire is the power leading into the switch, and back wire is the switch controlled power that leads back up to the light fixture. The power originates at the light fixture from a separate cable.

    The power which was used for the combo outlet will need to be verified, as well as the wiring to the fan unit. The key will be to verify where the power source originates, then the wires that are used for the switching process.
    I hope this helps,
    Dave

  2. Mark says:

    I am replacing a switch for a vanity light and a combination switch/outlet in the same box. The first switch controls the vanity light. The switch on the combo controls the exhaust fan and the outlet is not switched. The original switches were already removed so I don’t know how they were wired. There are two wires running into the box, the first one has the neutral wire hot and the black wire is not hot. The second wire has both wires hot. I believe that the first wire comes from the vanity light and the second comes from the fan. I am not 100% on which wire comes from which. This is the first floor of a two story house so there is no way to look at which wire comes from were. Can some one please tell me how to wire these so it will operate properly. I am usually decent at switch / outlet wiring but not this one. There are ground wires with each wire also.
    Thanks.

  3. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Joe,
    As you have described, the way the original 3 switches were wired within the frame was that the looped wire to all three switches was the Line of the power source. After that, each other wire connected to each light switch was the connected Load, such as a light fixture.
    Pilot light combo switches come in a few configurations and types, where the pilot light will be a neon light which is basically wired within the Load side of the switch, or an incandescent pilot light which requires a separate neutral wire.
    In any case, you will need to identify which pilot light you have in order to make the correct wire connections.
    The condition that you have described where one switch controls the other switches is because the load side of the first switch has been looped as the Line side of the other switches, therefore the wiring must be changed so that the Line side is configured properly for all of the other switches.
    To help you make the correct wiring connections, make sure to identify all of the wires properly, and then make the connections.
    I hope this helps you,
    Dave

  4. Joe says:

    My question is similar to the one about wiring a Cooper 274W, but my switch does not have the outlet – only the pilot light. What is confusing me is that the old switch is part of a “gang” switch of 3 wall switches. The electrician who wired the house had the 2 black wires (Hot Line and Load) inserted into the back of the old switch and had “looped” a black wire (from one of the other switches) around one of the side screws (stripping off a portion of the insulation).
    I have wired the new switch as follows: hot to the top black screw, load to the top brass screw and the “loop” to the bottom brass screw.
    What I have is a pilot that is always on and the switch now controls everything in that gang switch assembly (the entire circuit) – when I switch it off, everything on the circuit goes off.
    What have I done wrong?
    Thanks!

  5. robert ogrodny says:

    I need help installing this combination switch can someone please help me?