Adding an Outlet to a Wall Switch
Steve in Illinois asks: My kitchen has an exterior wall with a door that goes out onto a patio, with a switch inside near the door going outside that is the only one controlling an overhead kitchen light. I drilled a hole through the brick to add an outlet outside, piggybacking off the kitchen light switch.
Wiring for a Switch Controlled Outlet
Electrical Question: I wired an outlet from a light switch but the outlet does not work, what did I do wrong?
My kitchen has an exterior wall with a door that goes out onto a patio, with a switch inside near the door going outside that is the only one controlling an overhead kitchen light. I drilled a hole through the brick to add an outlet outside, piggybacking off the kitchen light switch. My idea was when the kitchen light was on, the outside outlet box would be on, and vice versa. After install completion, the opposite is happening – kitchen switch on, outlet off, and vice versa. All the kitchen switch wiring is back where it started and operates normally, I can’t figure out why the outlet is “backwards”. There’s a red wire to the hot screw and white to the neutral on the switch, and I ran the same to the outlet. There is a black wire coming into the box but it is taped off, not connected. No other switch can operate the overhead kitchen light. Any ideas how I wire to get the exterior outlet to be on off at the same time the kitchen light is on off? Thanks.
This electrical wiring question came from Steve, a Homeowner in Chicago, Illinois.
Steve, Thank You for Visiting Ask-the-Electrician!
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Steve.
How to Wire a Switch Controlled Outlet
Application: Wiring a Switched Outlet.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor, or Certified Electrician.
Electrical Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester, and appropriate Safety Gear.
Estimated Time: Depends on the personal level experience, ability to work with tools, install electrical circuit wiring, and the available access to the project area.
Electrical Safety: Identify the electrical power source to the Switched Outlet, turn it OFF and Tag with a Note before working with the electrical wiring.
Electrical Wiring Parts and Materials: Electrical parts and materials for the Switched Outlet should be approved for the specific project and compliant with local and national electrical codes.
Electrical Codes and Inspections: Installing or changing home electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes as adopted in Chicago, Illinois. A permit and inspections may also be required.
Wiring a Switch Controlled Outlet
This electrical wiring project is about Wiring a Switch Controlled Outlet in the Kitchen of a Apartment.
Switched Outlet, Change the Wiring
Reviewing the Electrical Question:
- My kitchen has an exterior wall with a door that goes out onto a patio, with a switch inside near the door going outside that is the only one controlling an overhead kitchen light. I drilled a hole through the brick to add an outlet outside, piggybacking off the kitchen light switch.
- Steve, from the information you have provided, the switch box where the wiring was added does not have a neutral wire. Here are a few tips: A switch does not have a neutral screw terminal, and when there are only two wires attached to a switch and one of the wires is white the white wire is not a neutral wire.
- To make the outlet work as you have originally planned, the wiring to the new outlet must be provided from the kitchen light box, because this is where the neutral wire is located.
- NOTE: An outside outlet must be have GFCI protection, therefore a GFCI outlet should be installed.
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