Wiring a Switch that Controls an Outlet

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Wiring a Switch Controlled Outlet: Wiring Configurations for a Half-Hot Switched Outlet.

Guide to Wire a Half Hot or Switched Outlet

Electrical Question: I have a switch that controls an outlet.

  • It is three wire Type-NM cable that has a black red white and ground.
  • There are also a two wire Type-NM cable in the same box that feeds other outlets.
  • My tester says that there is a hot and ground reversed.
  • What am I doing wrong?

This electrical wiring question came from: Tony, from Rancho Santa Margarita, California.

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

Wiring a Switch Controlled Outlet

wiring a switched outlet half hot

Application: Half Hot Switched Outlet.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the number of outlets that will be replaced.
Precaution: Identify the outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional outlet electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Wiring Configurations for a Half-Hot Switched Outlet

  • Wall Switch and Outlet
    A half hot or switched outlet is commonly used in bedrooms or other rooms where a floor or table lamp is to be controlled by a wall switch.
  • Wiring Connections for Switched Outlet
    The wiring diagrams shows how the connections are made and the one important but often overlooked component that makes a switched outlet work properly.
  • Outlet Polarity Test
    If your tester indicates that the ground and the hot is reversed then you must turn off the circuit then go back and double check all the connections and make the changes as needed.

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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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