How to Wire Switches and Outlets from a Power Source
July 19, 2013 by: Dave Rongey
How to Connect Electrical Wiring for Switches and Outlets: The Most Common Method for Wiring Switches and Outlets from the Power Source.
Guide to Wiring Switches and Outlets
Electrical Question: My living room power source goes to a switch box at one end of the room.
- I connected a 3way switch and then routed a 14/3 cable from this switch to a second 3way switch at other end of room. I then wired a 14/2 cable from the 2nd switch to top (isolated) half of all outlets in the room to provide switched power.
- I also routed a 14/2 from the power source in the box at the first switch to the bottom halves of each outlet to provide non-switched power.
- I now have a 14/2 switched coming from one side of the room, and a 14/2 non-switched coming from the other side of the room, at each outlet.
- Since the commons on both of these cables are connected directly to the source common in the first switch box, the circuits would work fine whether I keep the switched and non-switched commons separated at each outlet, or if I tie them together at each outlet box.
My question is: What is the common practice in this situation?
This electrical wiring question came from: Wally, from New Berlin, Wisconsin.
Additional Comments: Extremely useful.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Wally.
How to Connect Electrical Wiring for Switches and Outlets
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on the persons level experience, ability to work with tools and install electrical circuit wiring.
Precaution: Identify the panel circuit of the switch or outlet, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring for switches and outlets should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
The Most Common Method for Wiring Switches and Outlets from the Power Source
- Typically, I do not like to feed outlets from a switch box unless the outlet will be controlled by the switch.
- With all electrical circuit wiring, we need to plan our circuits and keep track of all the wiring, otherwise we can end up scratching our head trying to figure out what cable went where.
- My advise is to reserve the wiring in the switch boxes for switching and light fixtures.
- Many people get confused thinking that just because they see a white wire they think it is a neutral and they believe that they can extend the wiring to an outlet, and that is not always the case.
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Electrical Wires and Cables
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Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
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Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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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