How to add an Outlet to a Switch
Considerations when Adding an Outlet to a Switch. Can a receptacle outlet be added where a light switch is located?
Add an Outlet to a Switch
Electrical Question: Can a receptacle outlet be added where a light switch is located?
- I have a light at the top of my stairs controlled by two switches. I’ve determined that the power from the breaker box goes to the outlet at the bottom of the stairs.
- Is it possible to install a switch/outlet combo in the outlet at the top of the stairs so I can have power on the upstairs landing as their are only outlets in the room off of the hall? If so, how would the wiring work with the two runners from the bottom switch?
This electrical wiring question came from Keith, a Handyman, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Keith.
Adding an Outlet to a Switch
Application: Adding a 120 Volt Receptacle Outlet to a Wall Switch.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best if wired by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
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 added and the access to the location for the new outlets.
Precaution: Identify the existing outlet circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional outlet wiring should be done through the local building authority, installed according to applicable local and national electrical codes, with a permit, and have the required inspections.
Considerations when Adding an Outlet to a Switch
- Circuit Power and Wiring
- In order to add a receptacle outlet to a light switch the circuit wiring must be at the location of the light switch, or contained inside the electrical box of the light switch. The circuit wires required for an outlet include a ground wire, a neutral wire and the circuit power wire.
- Adding an Outlet to a 3way Switch
- Depending on how the 3way switches have been wired, and there are several ways that 3way switches can be wired, the circuit wiring may not be available for a receptacle outlet to be added.
- The Circuit Capacity Must Be Tested
- IMPORTANT: Before adding any new device to a circuit, including a receptacle outlet, the circuit capacity must be checked by the electrician to see if the circuit has enough additional amperage capacity required for the added device, otherwise the circuit may become overloaded and trip off the circuit breaker or blow a fuse.
- Alternative Solution for Adding a New Outlet
- Instead of adding an outlet to a switch, I have found that adding a new outlet from an existing outlet circuit found in a bedroom may be much faster and easier. In the case where a bedroom hall is adjacent to the hallway, the new outlet may be installed by extending the bedroom circuit to a new outlet box in the desired location of the hallway.
More about Wiring a Receptacle Outlet
Wiring Electrical Outlets for the Home
Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.
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Understanding electrical junction boxes and what they are used for. Home electrical wiring is the process of installing electrical wire to a location that will serve electrical devices or an appliance. One very important component is the box where the wire will be installed. The type and size of the home wiring electrical boxes will depend upon the circuit size, application and its location.
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The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
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