Categories
Interior

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Last week I described how an outlet should be wired for switch control when the voltage enters the circuit at the outlet. This setup is how our master bedroom was wired before I installed an overhead ceiling fan. As promised, I detail below how to modify this wiring setup with minimal effort so that the switch can instead control an overhead fixture. Later this week, I’ll post some before and after pics from our ceiling fan installation. Before we get started, let’s briefly review last week’s diagram:

Review of Switched Outlet Wiring (Power Enters at the Outlet)

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

In this diagram, voltage enters the circuit at location (A) in a standard 2-wire (+ground) Romex. The white neutral wire from this Romex is connected directly to the silver terminals on the receptacle (E), and the black hot wire is connected to the white wire running to the switch (B). The white and black wires from this Romex are connected to the switch (C). The black wire at the switch is now switched hot which is run back to the receptacle and connected to the gold terminal (D). The result: the outlet is only hot when the switch is turned on.

Notice that in this diagram, the neutral wire never leaves the receptacle box. Voltage exits the receptacle box on the white wire to the switch, and then returns as switched power on the black wire, both in the same Romex cable.

To rewire this circuit to control an overhead fixture, we need to get both hot and neutral to the switch box, and ultimately out a second Romex to an overhead fixture. We do this by repurposing the Romex between the receptacle and the switch, and adding an additional Romex to the overhead fixture. Here’s how the wiring diagram changes:

Rewire a Switch to Control an Overhead Fixture

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Diagram Explanation

  • Step 1: We need to alter the wiring in the receptacle box to move hot, neutral, and ground up to the switch. To do this, we use the receptacle as a bridge for the hot and common wires. For both Romex’s in the receptacle box, the black wires are wired to the brass terminals, the white wires to the silver terminals, and the ground (copper) wires are nutted together and attached with a pigtail to the receptacle itself.
  • Step 2: Add an additional piece of Romex from the switch box to the overhead fixture. This Romex should be sufficient gauge for the current (12 gauge for 20 amp circuits, 14 gauge for 15 amp circuits). In our diagram we add 2-wire Romex with the intention that all of the voltage traveling to the overhead fixture will be switched. We could also add 3-wire Romex and have one switched hot wire, and one constant hot wire running to the overhead fixture. (This would be useful, for instance, if we were installing a fan with a separate fan and light control).
  • Step 3: Wire nut the neutral wires from both Romex’s in the switch box together. (This sends neutral up the wire to the fixture). Connect the black wires from each Romex in the switch box to the switch. (The black wire running up to the overhead fixture is now switched hot. Wire nut the ground wires together and add a pigtail to connect the switch.

Additional Notes

  • Note that once hot and neutral are both at the switch, we have a lot of options for expanding this circuit. We could split the hot wire onto two switches that run to an overhead fixture. This could be used to give us independent control of a fan and light fixture. (Alternatively, modern technology gives us the ability to retrofit the switch with a “smart switch” that will independtly control the fan and light on a traditional two-wire circuit).
  • It goes without saying: Only perform this work if you are qualified (and licensed if necessary) and always turn off the power at the breaker panel before you start work.

ProTool Reviews has a similar guide for wiring a ceiling fan that accounts for several different scenarios- pull chains, multiple switches and more. If this article hasn’t answered all your questions, check out their guide and helpful diagrams.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

How should I Wire Outlets that are Controlled by a Wall Switch? Rewiring a Switch Controlled Outlet.

Electrical Video #1

Electrical Wiring Tips

Helping You to Wire It Right!

See more Home Electrical Wiring Videos

See the Electrical Wiring Video #2 Below:

Switched Outlets
Electrical Question: How should I wire outlets that are controlled by a wall switch?

My electrical wiring project involves Wiring Outlets in the Bedroom of a Apartment.

  • This is a 1960s building. The room has four outlets with the top plug on each set to be controlled by one switch. I replaced one outlet and want it to be hot all the time, so did not remove the pin. Now all of the outlets are hot all of the time and not working on the switch, help?

This electrical wiring question came from Ryan, a Student in Los Angeles, California.

Additional Comments: Very helpful.

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

How to Wire Switch Controlled Outlets

Application: Wiring Switch Controlled Outlets.
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 room outlets, 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 outlets should be of the same specifications as the original outlets 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 Los Angeles, California. A permit and inspections may also be required.
Resources to help you do electrical wiring in your area:
Locate Electricians or Electrical Contractors in California
California Electrical Contractor License, Building Permits and Electrical Codes

Wiring Outlets Controlled by a Wall Switch

Important Note about this Specific Electrical Question:
Ryan would like to make one outlet to be On-All-The-Time, and not controlled by the wall switch. Resources for wiring the typical Switch Controlled Outlets are provided in the listing of Resources found below.

Rewiring a Switch Controlled Outlet
Along with the ground wire, and the neutral wire, a switch controlled outlet has two separate wires which provide the power. One wire provides constant power, and the other wire is controlled by the wall switch. If you desire to have the outlet to be On-All-The-Time then the wire with the constant power is connected to the outlet, and the wire controlled by the wall switch is not connected to the outlet. When the outlet box contains two set of these wires then this typically indicates an incoming cable and an outgoing cable. When the wiring has been identified as such the wires should be spliced together as a matching set to continue their function to the other remaining outlets on this specific circuit for this room.

Resources: More about a Wiring Switch Controlled Outlets

Switched Outlet Wiring
Electrician Explains the Process of Switched Outlet Wiring.

Switched Outlet Wiring Diagram
Electrician Explains How a Switched Outlet is Wired with Wiring Diagram.

How to Wire A Switched Outlet
How To Install A Switched Outlet with Wiring Diagrams, Photos, Questions and Answers.

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.

This article was co-authored by Daniel Stoescu. Daniel Stoescu is a Master Electrician and the Owner and Operator of Home Tech Solutions, LLC in Hampton, Virginia. With over a decade of experience, Daniel specializes in wiring residential, commercial, and light industrial structures. The Home Tech Solutions team has over four decades of combined experience and offers comprehensive solutions for residential electrical needs.

There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 358,856 times.

This article will discuss replacing electric switches and outlets including 3 and 4 way switches and GFCI protected outlets.

Daniel Stoescu
Master Electrician Expert Interview. 16 August 2021.

  • If the outlet doesn’t function at all, and you are not sure which breaker turns it off, then you may want to turn off the main breaker. This will shut down the entire house, but it is better to be safe than to risk electric shock. A voltage detector (“power sniffer”) is also useful for detecting voltage.
  • The light fixtures are usually on the lower value amp circuit breakers (usually 15 amps). If you leave the light fixtures on, it gives you better lighting to work on the plugs and switches. Standard outlets are usually connected to 15 and 20 amp circuits breakers.
  • If the outlet in the room isn’t protected by circuit breakers, but by fuses, make sure that fuse has been removed.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Lighting Made Easy

No app. No Wi-Fi. No configuration.

Switcheroo Solves a Common Problem

It is a problem that exists in over half of all American households — a wall switch in a room that turns on an outlet, but not the outlet that you want it to activate.

Whether it is a single lamp that you want to move, several lamps that you want to turn on with one switch, or holiday lighting that you want to sync up on one switch or timer, there is an easy way to fix it, and we call it Switcheroo.

Before Switcheroo, Your Options Were Limited

Sure, you could install a complicated (and expensive) “smart home” system, but what happens when your guests want to turn on a light?

You can call an electrician to re-run your wiring, but the mess and cost involved with that makes it a huge ordeal.

In some cases, extension cords work great. In most cases, they don’t. Running an extension across a doorway, up stairs, or into a different room just is not practical.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Meet Switcheroo

A new, simple way to re-configure your home lighting

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Internet Free

No Wifi or Internet needed to operate.

App Free

Take your phone with you, not your lights.

Plug and Play

Plug in, select a channel, set to send or receive and flick your switch.

Expandable

Scalable to allow for as many devices as you would like on one switch.

How Do I Use Switcheroo?

Simply plug a Switcheroo into your switched outlet, and then another Switcheroo into as many outlets that you want to turn on and off with your existing switch. Set them to the same channel and you are done. Or, use different channels for multiple configurations around your house.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Want to have all of your lights turn on when you walk in the house? No sweat.

Need to turn on lights all around the house with one switch or timer for extra security? Check.

Looking for an easy way to turn on all of your holiday lighting with one switch or timer? Switcheroo has you covered.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

How is Switcheroo Different?

You have probably seen a lot of “smart home” light control devices out there. Switcheroo is different. It does not require an app, which means that Switcheroo doesn’t stop working when your Wi-Fi goes out, or when you change your password.

It also means that you don’t need to use your phone to control your lights; just your existing wall switches. When guests visit, they don’t need to install an app to turn on the lights. After all, your light switches don’t belong in your pocket.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Frequently Asked Questions

A switched outlet is an outlet in your house controlled by a light switch. Turn the light switch on, and the power to the outlet is on, turn it off, and the power is off. Odds are, you have one somewhere in your house.

NOTICE: Switcheroo will not function connected to a dimming switch. It is against U.S. building code to connect a dimming switch to a standard outlet. Switcheroo will not function and may even fail permanently if connected to a dimmable outlet.

First and foremost, Switcheroo does not require a clunky app to turn your lights on and off. The devices are stand-alone, and all configuration (what little there is) takes place on the devices themselves. That means that if your WiFi goes out or your password changes, Switcheroo continues to work.

Yes! Switcheroo works on any powered outlet, regardless of how it is powered. That means that you can plug Switcheroo into a timer, use it with existing smart outlets, and configure it however you like to manage your home lighting.

Switcheroo communicates over wireless (radio) signals. As such, Switcheroo generally works well in most typically-sized houses, depending on the layout and construction of the house.

While we are exploring future versions of Switcheroo that can handle other devices down the road, we wanted to keep the size (and cost) of Switcheroo down. We did this by optimizing it for lighting applications, which rarely use a grounding prong and are the most common devices that are turned on and off with wall switches.

Yes, Switcheroo is guaranteed for life. If you encounter any issues with Switcheroo at any time, use any of the contact methods on this site to request a replacement or refund. No questions asked.

Wiring a light switch off gfci outlet 69 canerofset com diagrams to add new receptacle do it yourself help how wire and in the same box quora 2 way i from but keep hot when is electrical online fixture an electrician explains switched half dengarden why my wall outlets stop working turn install by tapping into existing doityourself community forums rewire that controls control overhead or fan controlled diy home improvement forum for single loft garage replace s adding 3 clipart 2463804 pikpng installing better homes gardens hgtv what know about before you try any work have power goes want retain constant at gfi seperate won t with combo diagram where there was none hometalk two lights on circuit true value easy guide change over plate melanie lissack interiors need turned family handyman lighting circuits using junction bo another room extra diffe double leviton 15 amp 125 volt ac grounded tap plug white r56 01470 0wh

Wiring A Light Switch Off Gfci Outlet 69 Canerofset Com

Wiring A Light Switch Off Gfci Outlet 69 Canerofset Com

Wiring Diagrams To Add A New Receptacle Outlet Do It Yourself Help Com

How To Wire A Light Switch And Outlet In The Same Box Quora

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Wiring A 2 Way Switch

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

How Do I Wire A Receptacle From Light Outlet But Keep It Hot When Is Off Electrical Online

Wiring Diagrams To Add A New Light Fixture Do It Yourself Help Com

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

An Electrician Explains How To Wire A Switched Half Hot Outlet Dengarden

Light Switch Wiring Diagrams

Wiring Diagrams To Add A New Light Fixture Do It Yourself Help Com

Why Do My Wall Outlets Stop Working When I Turn Off The Light Switch Quora

Wiring Diagrams To Add A New Light Fixture Do It Yourself Help Com

Wiring A Light Switch Off Gfci Outlet 69 Canerofset Com

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Install Light Fixture By Tapping Into Existing Outlet Doityourself Com Community Forums

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Rewire A Switch That Controls An Outlet To Control Overhead Light Or Fan

How To Rewire Outlet Controlled By Light Switch Diy Home Improvement Forum

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

How To Add Outlet From A Light Fixture Doityourself Com Community Forums

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Wiring For A Single Loft Or Garage Light

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

How To Replace An Outlet That S Controlled By A Light Switch

Wiring a light switch off gfci outlet diagrams to add new receptacle how wire and 2 way from switched half hot turn the install fixture by tapping into rewire that controls an controlled for single loft or garage replace s adding diy 3 clipart installing hgtv what know about i have gfi seperate with combo diagram power two lights on electrical plate need help outlets when is lighting circuits using junction bo in extra diffe double grounded tap plug

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Related Articles

  • How to Install Kitchen Cabinet Lighting
  • How to Install an Electical Outlet in a Wood Floor
  • How to Wire Two Wall Receptacles
  • How to Install Switch Controlled Light Fixtures
  • Leviton Three-Way Switch Replacement

A switch-controlled outlet is a great way to control lamps in the den, living room or bedroom. In fact, the National Electrical Code, or NEC, requires a switched outlet in a habitable room without an overhead light. There are several ways to wire a switched-controlled outlet and a new requirement of the 2011 NEC requires a grounded conductor (neutral) in each switch location whether there is a need or not. The examples shown will meet with the new NEC requirement.

Switch-Controlled Outlet Power Leg at Receptacle

Mount a single gang receptacle box and a single gang switch box at the desired locations. Pull 12/2 or 14/2 Romex with ground power leg cable from the breaker box or another receptacle box into the new switch-controlled receptacle box. Route the wire through one of the entry holes. Leave about a 6-inch tail and secure the cable within 8 inches of the box with a cable staple.

Pull 12/3 or 14/3 Romex with ground cable from the switch-controlled receptacle box to the switch box. Route the wire through one of the entry holes. Leave about a 6-inch tail and secure the cable within 8 inches of the box with a cable staple.

Strip all the outer sheaths at each box with the sheath stripper. At the switch box, strip about 1/2 inch of insulation from the red and black conductors with the wire strippers. Make loops on the black, red and ground wire. Connect the ground wire to the grounding screw of the switch and tighten with the screwdriver. Connect the black wire to the bottom switch lug and the red wire to the top switch lug and tighten the screws. Put an orange wire nut on the white wire and tuck neatly into the box. Tuck the remaining wire into the box and mount the switch with the attached screws.

Strip about 1/2 inch of insulation from all the wires in the receptacle box. Twist the two ground wires together inside the box and secure with a ground crimp. Cut one of the ground tails off and make a loop on the other ground tail. Connect the ground wire to the receptacle ground lug and secure. Make loops on the remaining black, red and white wires. Connect the white wires to the neutral side (silver screws) of the receptacle and tighten the lugs.

Break the tab off between the two receptacle screws on the hot side (brass screws) with needle-nose pliers for one switch-controlled outlet and one constant-on outlet. Leave the tab intact for two switch-controlled outlets. For two switch-controlled outlets, twist the black wires together and secure with a wire nut. Make a loop in the red wire and connect to one of the brass screws. For one switch-controlled outlet and one constant-on outlet, make a 6-inch tail with a piece of black wire scrap. Twist the two black wires and the piece of scrap together and secure with a red wire nut. Make a loop on the other end of the piece of scrap and attach to one of the brass receptacle screws. Make a loop in the red conductor and attach to the other brass receptacle screws.

Neatly tuck all the wires into the receptacle box and secure the receptacle with the attached screws. Turn on the power and test the function of the outlets. Install the receptacle and switch cover plates.

Switch-Controlled Outlet Power Leg at Switch Box

Mount a single gang receptacle box and a single gang switch box at the desired locations. Pull 12/2 or 14/2 wiring with ground-power leg cable from the breaker box or another receptacle box into the new switch box. Route the wire through one of the entry holes. Leave about a 6-inch tail and secure the cable within 8 inches of the box with a cable staple.

Pull a 12/3 or 14/3 cable with ground from the switch-controlled receptacle box to the switch box. Route the wire through one of the entry holes. Leave about a 6-inch tail and secure the cable within 8 inches of the box with a cable staple.

Strip all the outer sheaths at each box with the sheath stripper. At the switch box, twist the two ground wires together inside the box and secure with a ground crimp. Cut one of the ground tails off and make a loop on the other ground tail. Connect the ground wire to the switch ground lug and secure. Strip about 1/2 inch of insulation from the red, black and white conductors with the wire strippers. Twist the white wires together with linesman pliers and secure with a yellow wire nut.

Make a 6-inch tail with a piece of black wire scrap by stripping about 1/2 inch of insulation. Twist the two black wires and the piece of scrap together and secure with a red wire nut. Make loops on the other end of the tail and the red wire. Attach the black tail to the bottom lug of the switch and the red wire to the top lug of the switch. Neatly tuck all the wires into the box and secure the switch with two attached mounting screws.

Strip about 1/2 inch of insulation from all the wires in the receptacle box. Make loops with the black, red, white and ground wires. Connect the ground wire to the grounding screw of the receptacle and tighten with the screwdriver. Connect the white wire to the neutral side (silver screw) of the receptacle and tighten the screw.

Break the tab off between the two receptacle screws on the hot side (brass screws) with needle-nose pliers for one switch-controlled outlet and one constant-on outlet. Leave the tab intact for two switch-controlled outlets. For two switch-controlled outlets, put an orange wire nut on the black wire and tuck it neatly in the box. Make a loop on the red wire and attach it to one of the brass screws. For one switch-controlled outlet and one constant-on outlet, make loops in the black and red wires. Attach the red wire to one brass screw and the black wire to the other brass screw. Tighten the screws and neatly tuck the wires into the box. Install the receptacle with the two attached mounting screws.

Turn on the power and test the function of the outlets. Install the receptacle and switch cover plates.

For any confident do-it-yourselfer, it’s easy to replace a light switch. But as with any project involving electricity, it’s essential to exercise caution. Read on for the details on getting the job done safely and effectively.

By Donna Boyle Schwartz and Bob Vila | Updated Nov 5, 2020 9:02 AM

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Thanks to the simplicity of their design and function, light switches seem to last pretty much forever despite daily use. Indeed, most of us rarely give a second thought to these humble, hardworking components, but there are certainly instances when you’ll want to replace them. Perhaps you just want a better-looking or more functional switch, or maybe the switch is acting up, either emitting sparks or making a popping noise.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Whatever your reason for researching how to replace a light switch, you may be looking to call in an electrician. After all, as with any home repair that involves electricity, it’s always wise to err on the side of caution. Yet, so long as you observe basic safety measures, you can probably replace a light switch on your own, saving the hassle and expense of hiring a professional. Chances are that your toolbox already contains the necessary tools, so aside from a new switch and the following instructions, you need only a spare hour to complete this small project.

Step 1

Before beginning in earnest to replace a light switch, go first to the electrical panel and cut power to the room where you’re going to be working. If the breakers in the box are unlabeled, use trial and error to determine which one governs the circuit that includes the switch you’re replacing.

To do this, first flip the switch on. If it controls a ceiling fixture, make sure the light goes on. If it controls an outlet, plug a lamp into the outlet and make sure it goes on. Then, one by one, toggle each breaker and check the ceiling fixture or test lamp to see if it goes off. (Enlist a friend or family member to help so you can avoid having to make multiple trips back and forth.)

Once you have identified the right breaker, move it to the “off” position. Next, to make absolutely certain there’s no electricity reaching the light switch, remove the faceplate and hold a non-contact voltage detector within about a half inch of the switch’s screw terminals. (If you’re using a different type of voltage tester, such as a multimeter, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.)

If the detector does not register a current, it’s probably safe to continue to the next step, but before you spring ahead, it can never hurt to test the detector by trying it on a nearby outlet that you’re certain is receiving power.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Step 2

Now that you’ve taken off the faceplate, proceed to remove the screws that fasten the switch to the wall. Next, pull the switch out from the wall and inspect the wires feeding into it. If those wires loop around the terminal screws on the side of the switch, simply loosen the screws to free up the wires. If, however, yours is a newer switch, the wires may connect not to the terminal screws, but through holes in the back of the switch. (These are known as “back-wired,” “backstabbed,” or “push-in” switches.) To remove the wires, gently tug on each one while inserting the flat blade of a small screwdriver into the slot beneath the hole where the wire enters the housing.

As you work, be sure to keep track of which wire goes where, especially if the wires aren’t color-coded. The black or red “hot” wire attaches to the brass screw (or goes in the hole on the same side as the brass screw). Meanwhile, the white “neutral” wire connects to the silver screw (or goes in the hole on the same side as the silver screw). Finally, note the location of the ground wire. This green or bare copper wire is usually attached to a green terminal screw on the light switch, so you’ll need to unscrew it. Sometimes, the ground wire is connected to a screw on the electrical box itself, in which case you can leave it alone.

Step 3

If necessary, use a wire stripper to expose about a half inch of both the hot and neutral wires. Now, get the replacement light switch ready, using its on-off labels to help you orient the unit right-side up. Next, starting with the hot wire, begin attaching the wires to the new switch. If you’re connecting the wires to terminal screws, twist the exposed portion of the hot wire into a clockwise loop, fit the loop over the brass screw (with the tip of the wire pointing away from the room), then tighten the screw. If, however, the switch has push connectors on its rear side, simply guide the hot wire into the appropriate hole.

Step 4

Move on to attaching the neutral wire to the light switch, using the same technique you used to attach the hot wire. If the ground wire had been connected to the old switch, complete the wiring by attaching the ground. If the ground wire had been (and is still) connected to the box, let it be. Once all the wires are hooked up, push the switch back into the electrical box and secure it to the wall with screws at top and bottom. Finally, return to the electrical panel and restore power to the light switch. Test to make sure it works, and if it does, screw the faceplate back into position.

A parting word: If want to replace a light switch with a dimmer, you can follow the process described above, but remember—not all dimmers are created equal. For a successful installation, double-check that your chosen dimmer has sufficient wattage to control your fixture. Add up the maximum wattage of the bulbs you wish to put on the dimmer, and make it a point to seek out a dimmer switch with a wattage rating above the calculated total.

I’d like to change switched outlet to a half-hot outlet. The wiring of the outlet is shown below. Is there a way to do this using existing wires?

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Update on the wiring: using two-way voltage tester, I determined the following:

  • voltage between B and C is controlled by the switch
  • always no voltage between A and B
  • always voltage between A and C

2 Answers 2

  • Turn off the power.
  • Add a pigtail from the twist-on wire connector to the top “hot” receptacle terminal.
  • Break the little metal tab between the “hot” terminals on the receptacle.
  • Mark the white wire going to the switch with black tape or marker, so the next person knows it’s being used as a “hot”.

The top outlet should be always hot, while the bottom will be switch controlled.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Use a multimeter to verify my assumptions are correct, before proceeding.

If the feeder is coming from the other side, then you’ll want to rewire it like this.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Response to comments about the white/neutral/illegal etc. for controlling an outlet with a switch. This is often used to serve a disposal (the best solution for a disposal installation is to use a product called an airswitch. You may have seen them, the button is then in the corner of the sink in a knockout and matches the finish of your sink). I am an electrical contractor with 20 yrs experience, feel free to heck NEC for confirmation. While it is good practice to label white wires that are used as an ungrounded conductor (make them a “hot wire”), it would hardly be the most egregious error a homeowner could make. It is however in the NEC to label it for use as such: Article 200.7(C)(1) (painting, taping, or other manner for identification).

The best wiring method in my opinion for a switched outlet also depends on how the wires are run to each box.

Scenario one feeds the switch first and then goes to the outlet. Scenario 2 wires runs to the outlet first and then to the switch.

Scenario 1: pretty straight forward here. At switch white neutral wires go together with a wire nut, ground wires also get their own wire nut (pigtail wire from wirenut to the green screw of the switch). Black wires get their own screw (does not matter which wire goes to which black screw). The outlet is then wired as usual. White wire to silver screw, black wire to colored screw, bare wire to green screw. You cannot wire for a “Half hot” with this method, there are not enough conductors.

Option A (entire outlet responds to switch): in Receptacle box connect the line hot (black wire coming from panel) to the white wire that goes to switch (mark as mentioned above). Then connect the black wire that comes from the switch to either colored screw on the outlet. Finally connect the “line neutral” (white wire from the panel) to the silver screw on the receptacle). Bare copper wires together with a wirenut with pigtail wire to green screw.

At the switch white wire goes to one screw (mark as discussed), the black goes to the other screw. Bare copper wire goes to green screw.

Option B (half hot): At receptacle box, with pliers or cutters remove the metal tab that bridges the top screw with the bottom (do not do this with the neutral side of the outlet). Then connect the line neutral (white wire from panel) to either silver screw, next tie the line hot (from label) with the white wire going to the switch with a wirenut. In this same wirenut run a “pigtail” (short black wire) to one of the colored screws. Finally attach the white wire from the switch to the other colored screw (label appropriately). Bare copper wires together with wirenut and bare pigtail wire to green screw.

At the switch (same as before) white wire goes to one screw (mark as discussed), the black goes to the other screw. Bare copper wire goes to green screw.

This method ensures that at the outlet you have a black wire and a white wire connected to the receptacle rather than two white wires or two black wires. (can cause confusion for the lay person).

One of your receptacles will be always hot, the other will be controlled by the switch.

*under no circumstance should you use the bare copper (ground) wire for a neutral or hot. The ground wire is not intended to be a current carrying conductor, and with the adoption of new NEC codes requiring AFCI breakers for almost all circuits in a residence the breaker to continually trip. These breakers sense these disagreements and will break the circuit. It can be costly to have an electrician track this down later if you don’t know where it is.

Now congratulate yourself with a beer.

Someone else asked what the purpose of breaking the tab between the silver screws might be used for. If f you need a dedicated circuit for 2 devices and only have a single gang box (one device), break both sets of tabs, connect both blacks to different colored screws, and the whites to the silver screws (make sure the black and white from one cable go to the bottom receptacle and the other pair go to the other outlet. *note that if you mix them up you may not realize it if they are controlled by standard breakers. They will only trip under specific circumstances. So make sure you pair the wires appropriately. With the AFCI breakers I mentioned earlier, they will immediately trip and not reset until rectified.

*it bears mentioning that new code requires that disposal and dishwasher circuits be GFCI protected. You cannot separate the receptacles for a “half hot” and remain compliant. It is common practice to have a 2gang box with a GFCI Receptacle for both appliances.

Have fun everyone. This is not meant in a condescending manner, i only intend to offer help.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Kelly Bacon is a licensed general contractor with over 40 years of experience in construction, home building and remodeling, and commercial building. He is a member of The Spruce Home Improvement Review Board.

  • Pin
  • Share
  • Email

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  • Working Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $2 to $8

Most of the wall switches in your home are single-pole switches that control a light fixture or outlet from a single wall location. Because they get so much use, wall switches eventually wear out and need replacement. If a wall switch has lost its snap or feels loose, if you notice buzzing or crackling when you operate it, or if it fails to control the light fixture, it’s time to replace the switch.

Light Switch Wiring

Light switches operate by providing an operational break in the hot circuit wire leading to a light fixture or other device. Flipping the switch’s lever opens and closes the hot wire circuit leading to the light fixture, allowing you to turn it on and off at will. There is no neutral wire connection in most light switches, which makes replacement fairly easy—it’s a simple matter of disconnecting two hot wires from the old switch and reconnecting them to a new switch. For a basic single-pole switch, you don’t even need to pay attention to which hot wire gets attached to which screw terminal—they are interchangeable.

That said, any electrical repair has the potential for complications. This is especially likely when you are dealing with old wiring, where the color-coding of wires may be missing, or where you face a bewildering array of wires passing through the electrical box. But the key is to simply pay attention to which wires are attached to the switch, and make sure they are attached in the same way to the new switch.

One very common complicating factor involves how (and if) the switch is grounded. For many years, it was common for wall switches to be installed without any grounding wire connection at all. If circuit ground wires were present in the electrical box, they were simply joined together to pass through the box. But some time ago, the electrical code mandated that wall switches needed to have a grounding connection. As a result, all new switches you purchase will have a green grounding screw on the mounting strap. When replacing an old switch, you will need to connect the new switch to the circuit ground wires, even if your old switch had no such grounding connection.

Before You Begin

Turn off the power by switching off the circuit breaker that controls the circuit feeding the switch. In older systems that have fuse panels rather than circuit breakers, the power is turned off by unscrewing the fuse that protects the circuit you are working on.

Return to the wall switch and flip the switch to confirm that power has been turned off. If not, return to the panel to locate and turn off the correct circuit breaker.

Sometimes a light fixture that’s in perfect operating condition doesn’t work because the wall switch to the receptacle is faulty. There are several primary symptoms of switch failure:

  • flipping the switch no longer turns the light on or off
  • flipping the switch makes the light flicker, but the light will not stay on or off
  • the switch may work occasionally, but you have to jiggle it back and forth several times to keep the light on

If you spot any of these symptoms of switch failure, install a replacement wall switch as soon as possible. Here’s how:

Deenergize electrical circuit that controls switch.

2. Remove The Switch Plate Cover

Remove switch cover plate. If cover plate doesn’t come off easily, it is probably being held in place by several layers of paint. Use razor blade or utility knife to cut paint closely around edge of plate to free it.

3. Inspect the Old Switch

Inspect old switch to determine type of replacement model you need. (Replace cover until you return with new switch.) You must use the same type, but, in most cases, you can install a better grade of switch than the one you had before.

4. Prep the New Switch

Prepare new switch for installation. Some kinds of wall switches have no terminal screws for conductor attachments. Instead, switch has small holes that are only slightly larger than bare copper conductors. Remove about 1/2 inch of insulation from ends of wires, then push bare ends into holes. Locking tabs make electrical connection and grip wires so they can’t pull out. If necessary, release wires from old switch by inserting narrow-blade screwdriver in slots next to wire-grip holes.

5. Remove Screws

Remove mounting screws on switch cover plate and take off plate. With cover plate removed, you’ll see two screws holding switch in switch box. If necessary, remove screws, and carefully pull switch out of box as far as attached wires allow. If there are two screws with wires attached, switch is a simple ON/OFF (single-pole) type. If there are three screws with wires attached, you’re working with a more complicated type called a three-way switch. Replacement switch must be the same type as old one, either single-pole or three-way. Three-way switches allow you to turn light on and off from two different locations, such as at top and bottom of stairway. Look carefully at three terminal screws; you’ll see that two are one color while the third is a different color. Do not disconnect any wires until you compare old switch with replacement switch so you know which wire goes to which terminal screw.

6. Loosen Old Terminal Screws

Loosen one of the old terminal screws, remove wire, and attach wire to corresponding terminal screw on new switch. Repeat with remaining wires. Take care to connect wires so all bare wire is safely under screw heads; clip off any excess uninsulated wire. Procedure is the same whether you’re working with simple ON/OFF switch or three-way switch, but you must be more careful with the latter. Verify wiring by comparing it with manufacturer’s diagram on packaging of new switch.

If you’re installing modern wire-grip type of wall switch, cut off end of each wire to leave only 1/2 inch of bare wire. Push one bare end wire into each wire-grip hole, and check that wires have caught properly by tugging gently on them. Caution: If wires or insulation going into electrical box are brittle or frayed, that part of circuit should be professionally rewired.

8. Replace the Switch

Replace switch in wall electrical box. Push switch into box carefully, and make sure wires fit neatly into box behind switch. There are small tabs extending from switch’s mounting bracket; these tabs should lie flat against wall outside electrical box. They hold switch flush with wall no matter how electrical box is angled inside.

9. Put the Switch Back in Place

Put switch back into place, using two mounting screws provided with new switch. Oval holes in mounting bracket allow you to fasten switch so it’s straight up and down even when screw holes in electrical box are tilted.

10. Attach Cover Plate

Attach cover plate with screws you took out earlier, and replace circuit fuse or trip circuit breaker back on.

All switches work on the same general principles, and you can usually choose a switch with features you like best. The single-pole toggle switch is still the most popular. When the toggle switch is mounted properly, the words ON and OFF are upright on the toggle lever, and the light goes on when you flip the switch up. A variation of the traditional toggle switch is the lever-action switch, which lies almost flush with the wall. It turns the fixture on when someone pushes the top of the switch in. The push-button switch has a single button that turns the light on when pressed and off when pressed again. Some switches are available with the extra feature of a built-in neon lamp that glows when the switch is off, making it easy to locate the switch in the dark. Dimmer switches, with a dial to control the brightness, turn the light off when the dial is turned all the way down or pushed in. Some dimmer switches are like toggle types. Sliding the toggle upward increases the light’s intensity; sliding it all the way down turns off the light. You can install these switches as replacements for nearly any type of switch.

Need to rewire a lamp? Check out How to Rewire a Lamp to find out how.

Timothy Thiele is an IBEW Local #176 Union Electrician with over 30 years of experience in residential, commercial, and industrial wiring. He has an associate degree in electronics and completed a four-year apprenticeship. He’s been writing for The Spruce on residential wiring and home installation projects for over eight years.

  • Pin
  • Share
  • Email

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  • Working Time: 15 – 30 mins
  • Total Time: 15 – 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $1 to $8

Single-pole wall switches are used in circuit configurations where a light (or group of lights) is controlled from a single wall location. Single-pole switches can also control appliances or electronics. For example, a single-pole switch may be used to control power to an outlet that powers a floor lamp, stereo, or video system.

Single-pole switches are by far the most common type of switch in a home, and because they get lots of use, sooner or later it’s likely one will fail. Replacing a standard single-pole switch is among the easiest of all wiring problems to fix. But all electrical repairs come with some risk of shock, so it’s important to have some basic understanding of wiring circuits in order to perform this repair.

Before You Begin

A wall switch is a device that controls the flow of current through the live “hot” wire of an electrical circuit. When in the open (OFF) position, the switch stops the flow of current from the source to the light fixture or other device. When switched to the closed (ON) position, the switch restores the flow of current through the entire circuit, allowing the light fixture to illuminate or the appliance to run. Thus, a wall switch is always connected to hot circuit wires, and it usually does not have a neutral connection at all.

There are several different types of switches that can be used in different configurations, For example, three-way switches are used when you want to control a light fixture from two different wall locations, while a four-way switch is used in conjunction with three-way switches when you want to control lights (or another device) from three or more locations. But most wall switches in your home are the single-pole type, where a switch controls a light (or group of lights) or an appliance (a garbage disposer, for example) from a single wall location.

When you examine a single-pole switch visually, you will see a pair of screw terminals along the side of the switch, each one attached to a hot wire—one arriving at the switch location from the source (upstream), the other leading onward to the light fixture or appliance, located downstream in the circuit. The appearance of the wiring inside the electrical box may vary depending on the circuit configuration and age of the wiring system, but the important thing to remember is that the wires connected to the side of the switch are both hot wires. In the case of a single-pole switch, these wires are interchangeable—it doesn’t make any difference which wire is attached to which screw terminal.

Inside the switch is a metal pathway that closes when the switch is in the ON position and opens to interrupt the flow of power when the switch is turned OFF. Eventually, that pathway or the springs that operate the pathway wear out, at which point you’ll need to replace the switch.

In addition to the hot wire connections, new single-pole switches also have a green grounding screw that must be connected to the circuit’s grounding system. Older single-pole switches may not have this grounding screw, but when you replace such a switch, it’s important to establish this grounding connection on the new switch. How you do this may vary, depending on how your home’s circuits are grounded. Usually, it’s a simple matter of pigtailing the switch’s grounding screw to the circuit grounding wires.

  • HOME
  • EXTERIOR SERVICES
    • Gutter Cleaning
    • Gutter Repair & Replacement
    • Roof Repair
    • Siding Repair
    • Fence Repair & Installation
    • Power Washing Services
    • Window Cleaning
    • Deck Repair & Installation
    • Window Well Cleaning
    • Window Well Cover Installation
    • Mailbox Installation & Repair
    • Dryer Vent Cleaning
    • Window Caulking
    • Brick & Bluestone Step Repair
  • INTERIOR SERVICES
    • Home Remodeling
    • Remodeling Services
    • Lightbulb Replacement
    • Furniture Moving
    • Picture Hanging
    • Chandeliers & Light Fixture Cleaning
    • Patch, Sand, Paint Walls, Ceiling & Woodwork
    • Furniture Assembly
    • Kitchen & Bath Hardware Installation
    • Kitchen & Bath Caulking
    • Window Cleaning
  • ELECTRICAL SERVICES
    • Light Fixture Installation
    • Switch & Outlet Replace/Repair
    • Garage Door Keypad & Repote Installation
    • Ring /Security Installation
    • Thermostat Installation
    • Appliance Repair
  • PLUMBING SERVICES
    • Garbage Disposal Installation
    • Kitchen & Bath Fixture Installation
    • Sump Pump Installation
    • Back Up System Services
    • Plumbing Leak Repair
  • SEASONAL SERVICES
    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Fall
    • Winter
  • IN STORE SERVICES
    • Vacuums
    • Snow Blowers
    • Top Brand Products
    • Lawn Mowers
    • Blowers
    • Trimmers
    • Chainsaws
    • Power Washers
    • Generators
    • Lamps
  • CONTACT US

Switch & Outlet Repair or Replace Services

Do not risk your safety trying to replace or repair the electrical components in your home. Allow our team at Fuller’s Home & Hardware to do the work for you.
We offer a variety of electrical services that will help keep your home safe and functioning correctly.

Whether you have a broken switch or need to replace an outlet, our services for lighting covers all of your needs.
Our team will come to your location and efficiently replace and repair any faulty electrical components. You can rest assured that our work is safe and effective.

Contact the team at Fuller’s Home & Hardware by dialing 630-323-7750 to fix, replace or upgrade your switches or outlets.

How To Light A Pilot Light On A Trane Furnace. Release the knob and make sure the flame stays on. 6.how to light a pilot light on a trane furnace set the central furnace thermostat to ‘off’ or the lowest temperature option.

Where is the pilot light for my Bryant Furnace? from www.askmehelpdesk.com

Rotate the gas control dial to the ‘off’ position and wait five minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate. 23.light the pilot on a trane furnace by holding a flame to the orifice while holding in the gas control. Your pilot light might have gone out from a draft, and you’ll need to relight it to get your furnace working again.

Rotate the gas control dial to the ‘off’ position and wait five minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate. 31.the pilot light is a small burner that lights the larger furnace burners, and you can usually find it at the bottom of the furnace.

The pressure switch is not making contact and allowing electricity to the ignitor (check for blocked chimney or bad inducer motor) or. How to light a furnace pilot howstuffworks.

Release the knob and make sure the flame stays on. Rotate the gas control dial to the ‘off’ position and wait five minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate.

29.how to light a pilot light on a trane furnace set the central furnace thermostat to ‘off’ or the lowest temperature option. Rotate the gas control dial to the ‘off’ position and wait five minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate.

Rotate the gas control dial to the ‘off’ position and wait five minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate. Rotate the gas control dial to the ‘off’ position and wait five minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate.

Otherwise, hold a long match or lighter close to the pilot tube orifice. This should light the furnace pilot light.

How to light your pilot light a furnace pilot how to light a furnace pilot light the standing pilot on a gas furnace. How to light a pilot light on a trane furnace | hunker

This should light the furnace pilot light. Rotate the gas control dial to the ‘off’ position and wait five minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate.

If the ignitor will not glow, it is because: Otherwise, hold a long match or lighter close to the pilot tube orifice.

Table of Contents

25.Once The Gas Has Had Time To Dissipate, Turn The Knob To “Pilot.”.

This should light the furnace pilot light. Access the furnace controls by opening the metal door at the bottom front side of the trane furnace. A key component to any trane furnace’s efficiency is the proper operation of the unit’s pilot light, which ignites the burners to heat a home when they’re.

The Pressure Switch Is Not Making Contact And Allowing Electricity To The Ignitor (Check For Blocked Chimney Or Bad Inducer Motor) Or.

How to light a furnace pilot howstuffworks. Rotate the gas control dial to the ‘off’ position and wait five minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate. This gives the thermocouple time to warm up and keep the gas valve open.

Access The Furnace Controls By Opening The Metal Door At The Bottom Front Side Of The Trane Furnace.

29.how to light a pilot light on a trane furnace set the central furnace thermostat to ‘off’ or the lowest temperature option. 23.push the ignite button repeatedly if the furnace has one. Keep pushing in the control knob for about 20 seconds after the pilot lights.

Your Pilot Light Might Have Gone Out From A Draft, And You’ll Need To Relight It To Get Your Furnace Working Again.

Access the furnace controls by opening the metal door at the bottom front side of the trane furnace. In these old gas furnace systems, the flame light is a small ignition and situated under the gas furnace. Rotate the gas control dial to the ‘off’ position and wait five minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate.

On The Other Hand Old Furnace Have A Standing Pilot Flame.

If it’s on, you should be able to see a small flame. 7.how to light a pilot light on a trane furnace.1) if the pilot light (when ignited) is large enough to engulf about 3/8 inch of the thermocouple, then that is a good indicator that sufficient gas is coming out. Rotate the gas control dial to the ‘off’ position and wait five minutes to allow any residual gas to dissipate.

Introduction: Replace Light Fixture With Switched Outlet

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Update a closet wall light with a switched corded overhead light.

Disclaimer: Always use multiple sources and do your homework before performing any electrical work. Also, make sure all work is done within national and local code.

Step 1: Turn Off the Power

The first step in any electrical related work is to turn off the power. Flip the breaker off for the circuit you will be working on.

Step 2: Remove Fixture and Test Voltage

Remove the thumb screws and pull off the fixture cover. Before continuing with any work, use a voltage tester to confirm there are no hot wires in the box.

Step 3: Remove Fixture

Once you have confirmed the wires are safe to handle, uncouple the wire connector caps and untwist the pigtails to free the fixture. Then unscrew the fixture bracket.

Step 4: Loop the Wire Ends

Make sure there is enough exposed copper on the end of each wire. If not remove some sheathing. Then make loops to connect to the outlet.

Step 5: Attach Wires to Outlet

Loop the wires around the outlet screws. Connect the bare ground to the green screw, the white neutral to the silver screw, and the black hot wire to the gold screw. Make sure the wire loop end is pointing in the same direction that the screw is turned to help when tightening the screws. Once the outlet is connected push the wires back into the box and secure it in place. Then replace the outlet face plate.

Step 6: Test the Outlet

Return to the breaker to turn the power back on for the circuit. Use an outlet tester to test that everything has been properly connected.

Step 7: Hang the Light

Hang the light and plug it in to the new switched outlet.

Be the First to Share

Did you make this project? Share it with us!

Recommendations

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Cardboard Speed Challenge

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Colors of the Rainbow Contest

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

3 Comments

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Lighting circuits are usually fused at 15 amp. and outlet circuits at 20 amp. due to current capacity of the respective wire sizes. This works fine so long as no one needs more than 15 amps. to run a device connected to the outlet.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Reply 2 years ago

Thanks for chiming in Phil. 20 amp is now common for receptacles in newer construction, but I am in a home built in the 90s that is run with 15 amp breakers and 14 guage wire. That is a good point for anyone reading and I’ll add a disclaimer, because you can never be too safe with electrical work.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Reply 2 years ago

Thanks. I did not want in any way to sound critical, just to make people aware replacing a light with an outlet does not automatically make 20 amps. avaiable.

Home Electrical Troubleshooting

Replacing Electrical Outlets and Switches

Common Pitfalls When Replacing or Upgrading

At some point in a home’s life, installing new receptacles, switches, and light fixtures will be a good idea. The originals may be out of fashion, but they also wear out regardless. The homeowner replacing outlets and switches without a glitch is rare. I thought of titling this page “I Messed Up”. Here are some of the things that can happen. (Also see my article about these things.)

Switched Outlets

Since replacing outlets correctly relies on making new connections, these may be done poorly or wrongly. More than one electrical item may fail to work as a result of a single mistake. An easy goof comes when replacing a plug-in receptacle, half of which has been controlled by a wall switch. Even if the upgrader is aware that the outlet has been switched in this way and duplicates the exact connections of the old one, they may not know to break off the metal tab on the “hot” side of the new receptacle, which isolates the top and bottom halves. The result would be a switch that has no effect: all the formerly switched outlets will always be live. Kitchens wired in the 1960s may have a similar, easily missed complication. My article on this.

Outlet Hookups

Other problems for replacing outlets come from forgetting to reattach a wire or attaching it in the wrong place. The number, color, and function of the wires at an outlet can be confusing if the original connections are lost track of. Whether the attachment method chosen is screws, push-in holes, or pigtailing with wire connectors, enough insulation must be stripped off the wire for good metal-to-metal contact, and wires should be tugged on to check tightness. Video. Be aware also of two other matters to do with new receptacles. First, only 14 (not 12) gauge wires are to be inserted in the “quick-wire” holes available on the back of many receptacles and switches. Second, there is a different kind of hole on the back of some styles of receptacle that will not hold on even to 14 gauge wires; these rely on your tightening the side-screws to hold the wire solidly in those holes.

Switch Connections

Switches present difficulties as well. The most common mistake can happen when the old switch had three rather than two black wires connected to it, even though it was a regular ” single-pole” (not 3-way) switch. When you connect the new single-pole switch up, you can get confused by the new green screw they come with and hook one of those blacks to it. The result will be:

  • The switch’s light and some things in nearby rooms don’t work (and the switch-frame is able to shock you!).
  • Or, the switch’s light works from the switch but some things in nearby rooms don’t work.
  • Or, the switch’s light stays dead but the switch turns some things in nearby rooms on and off.

Don’t connect any black to the green screw. That screw is meant to be given a (bare) ground wire attached to the bundle of grounds, if any, back in the electrical box. Instead, two particular blacks should connect to the non-green terminals at one end of the switch and the third to the other end, like they were on the old switch. You may have to try up to three combinations before you get all things working right.

3-way Switch Confusion

The “three-way” switches that control lights from both ends of a room or hallway are easy to hook up incorrectly. This is absolutely the case if the new switches are not the three-way type (having three screw terminals that are not green in color). Video. But even the new three-way switches may have a different alignment of screws than the old. Hint: attach the two wires which come from the same cable as each other to the two screws that are the same color as each other. Consult my diagrams relating to Three-way switches.

Light Fixture Replacement

Even the replacing of light fixtures is not foolproof. Sometimes the wiring at a light box is passing the circuit through to various outlets in the area, so that care must be taken to connect everything back as it was. Also, an old light fixture may also be hiding a surprise. Upon taking it down, you may find the ceiling and wires crisp from years of heat generated by bulbs of too high wattage. An electrician is often needed to make a good repair in such cases.

Replacement Strategy

In everything I have said above, I am assuming power is off while things are replaced. However, because connection mistakes are so possible, have a strategy for checking your work as you proceed. For instance, do one room at a time, replacing outlets and other items, then restore power, checking that everything works right there and also in nearby rooms before going on to the next room. Otherwise, you will have much more work to recheck later, with possibly more than one goof to complicate the picture.

Service Upgrades

On the subject of upgrading electrical things in general, I have some words of advice about the electrical service upgrade, also known as an electrical service change or a panel change. The only clear cases of a service upgrade being necessary are where the existing one is damaged beyond repair or where greater circuit space or service capacity cannot be achieved in another way. Other reasons can sometimes amount to paranoia, and may be promoted by contractors who certainly have a vested interest in advising the upgrade. True, the beauty of a new panel can be a real estate selling point, but trouble with a circuit tripping from an overload will never be solved by a new panel as such. Many existing panels can be given additional circuits even when they appear to be full; this is because a full-size breaker can often be replaced with two mini-size breakers in the same space in the panel. Or a subpanel can be added and fed from spaces whose present circuits will be relocated to the subpanel.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

David wants the electrical outlet in the bathroom to be on all the time and not just when the light switch is on. How do you wire that, he asks?

You may or may not be able to do it with the existing wires.

Start by opening up the light electrical box. Turn off the light switch. Measure the voltage between all the combinations possible of the wires present. If none of them read 110 volts, then make the same test with the wires in the outlet box. If there is no voltage present at all, then as in the first graphic, the power is coming totally through from the switch box. What you are hoping to find is a pair of wires connected to each other and not connected to either the light or the outlet. This wire will be taking the hot power line from this area, over to the switch and back, as in the second graphic.

If there is power here, you will be able to directly connect the hot and the return lines from the electrical panel to the outlet without passing through the switch. The light will remain wired as before. If there is no power at all at either the light or the electrical box with the switch off, open the switch box. Here you will always be able to measure 110 volts if the switch is off and there is a light bulb in the socket, because the electricity is waiting to run through the switch. But if you remove the light bulb and turn the switch off, the only place that will measure 110 volts will be the two wires coming from the electrical panel. If you confirm that the power source runs through the switch box, you will not be able to separate the light and the outlet without running a new wire someplace. Your choices are to run a separate line from the electrical box to the outlet, or run a separate line from the hot lines in the light switch box to the outlet.

One tip is to make a little drawing of what is connected to what as you take things apart, even tagging wires with labels if you need to. That will at least allow you to get it back to how it was before you started if nothing seems to be working out.

If all of this is confusing to you, you will be better off calling in an electrician to be sure that your wires are always safe.

Click here for information on the LEGALITY OF DIY ELECTRICAL WORK.

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Did you know that wiring issues and other electrical problems are some of the most common contributors to home fires?

Did you also know that one of the most common signs that you’re dealing with an electrical situation is a malfunctioning light switch?

If you want to keep your home and your family safe from potential fires, you need to make sure your light switches are working in the proper way.

Is your light switch not working? There’s no need to panic just yet. However, you should get to the root of the problem as soon as you can.

Listed below are some common causes of this malfunction, along with tips on how you can correct them.

Reasons Your Light Switch Won’t Work

There are a lot of reasons why you may be dealing with a malfunctioning light switch. The following are some of the most common:

1. Broken Mechanism

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

A broken mechanism is often responsible when a light switch isn’t working. In these cases, the only way to solve the matter is to replace the light switch altogether (you’ll learn more about that in a minute).

Common signs that you’re dealing with a broken mechanism include the light not turning on (no matter how often you flick the switch) as well as the switch head not staying in place.

2. Fuse Burnout

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Fuse burnout and tripped circuit breakers can contribute to light switch malfunctioning, too.

Because of this, it’s important to take a look at your circuit breaker before you go ahead and buy a whole new light switch. Sometimes, you can replace a fuse and correct the situation.

There is a caveat here, though. If you notice that you often have burned-out fuses, you may want to reassess the amount of power you’re using to avoid overloading the wiring in your house.

3. Loose Wire

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Many people who are dealing with light switch problems complain of flickering lights.

Sometimes, the issue here is the lightbulb, rather than the light switch.

If you’ve already tightened the bulb and still have flickering, though, you could have a loose wire that’s the source.

A loose wire under the light switch plate, in particular, can often be the culprit.

4. Hot or Buzzing Switch

If you notice that your light switch has a buzzing or humming sound coming from it, that’s a sign of a more serious matter. The same goes for a light switch that’s hot to the touch.

Even if your light switch is technically still working, you could have a fire hazard.

Address it as soon as you can (a loose wire or overloaded breaker usually causes this) to avoid trouble later.

5. Faulty Circuit Cable

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Finally, your malfunctioning light switch could be the result of a fault circuit cable.

You can use a circuit tester to assess your light switch and see if there are any interrupted connections causing your light switch to not work properly.

If this is the case, you likely have a faulty circuit cable and need to call an electrician (there are a lot of things you can handle on your own, but some require a professional’s touch to get right).

How to Fix Your Light Switch

If you’re dealing with any of these issues, the good news is that you can often correct them fairly easily on your own.

Here are some steps to take to get your light switch (or switches) working again:

1. Gather Your Supplies

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

If you decide that you want to try and tackle the problem on your own, start by making sure you have all your supplies at the ready.

The following are some key tools you’ll need to address your light switch woes:

  • Circuit tester
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers

In most cases, this is all you need. Chances are you already have most, if not all, of these supplies at your disposal!

2. Safety First

Once you have everything you need, take precautions to protect yourself when dealing with electrical-related repairs. This includes cutting power to the light switch by turning off your circuit breaker.

Make sure your wires are capped, too, and mark the one you’re going to be working with using a piece of electrical tape.

3. Identify the Problem

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

Now, it’s time to identify what’s gone wrong. If you’ve checked the circuit breaker and have ruled out a blown fuse, your next step is to use the circuit tester to identify whether or not a faulty circuit cable is a part of the problem.

If you don’t notice any issues here, you may need to take off the switch cover to get a closer look.

4. Consider Replacing the Switch

Depending on what you find when you take off the switch cover, you may need to replace the light switch altogether. This process is fairly straightforward.

You’ll start by removing the light switch from the wall (including the wires that are hooked up to it).

Then, you’ll take the new light switch and screw it in place, taking care to ensure all the wires attached match up to the ones in your wall.

Once all the wires are paired, you can screw the new light switch cover onto your wall and turn the power back on.

5. Know When to Call for Help

How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

If you don’t feel confident replacing a light switch or handling any aspect of this process, don’t hesitate to call a master electrician and have them come take care of the problem for you.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when you’re dealing with electrical projects.

Light Switch Not Working? Fix It Today!

Is your light switch not working? If you’ve been stuck with a temperamental or straight-up dysfunctional light switch for a while now, give these tips a try today.

They’ll help you correct the problem and bring light back into your home!

Do you want to learn more about fixing broken or damaged items around your house such as a fluorescent light not working all the time or when all the outlets stop working on one wall? If so, give some of our home repair articles a read today.

You’ll be amazed at how many issues you can solve when you check out our resources.

Users who are viewing this thread

Jeff Knecht

Member
  • Feb 1, 2022
  • #1
  • Bedroom has 5 outlets with 1 outlet that has a switched plug. I want to convert another outlet in the bedroom, that is a standard wired outlet, to a switch-controlled outlet.
    Plan:
    – Run a red wire from the already switched outlet to the proposed switched outlet plug.
    -Of course, break the buss/bond on the power side to isolate the switch and “always-on” lugs.
    My question is since the proposed switched outlet already has a neutral and ground from another outlet,
    can the red wire be run alone without a neutral and ground? The new switched outlet is in between two outlets.

    If a neutral is needed, I will remove the single gang box and install a 2 gang old work box for a little more room
    Jeff

    wwhitney

    Well-Known Member
    • Feb 13, 2022
  • #2
  • A single conductor such as THHN can’t be run by itself in the walls. So you need to run something like NM cable. Given that, just run 12/3, rather than running 12/2 and only using one wire in it. [Or 14/3, if the existing wires are 14 gauge and the breaker is 15 amps.]

    If the receptacles are daisy chained (likely), you could replace the existing 12/2 hops with 12/3 as required. Or you could bypass the daisy chain and go straight from the existing switched receptacle (or possibly the switch) to the newly switched receptacle. In that case you’d want to just connect through the existing 12/2 daisy chain in the newly switched location.

    Since you’ll be adding more conductors to some of the boxes, you’ll need to check the box fill on each of them, and upsize the box if needed.

    Sponsor

    Paid Advertisement
    • 1 minute ago
  • Add bookmark
  • ##
  • Jeff Knecht

    Member
    • Feb 16, 2022
  • #3
  • A single conductor such as THHN can’t be run by itself in the walls. So you need to run something like NM cable. Given that, just run 12/3, rather than running 12/2 and only using one wire in it. [Or 14/3, if the existing wires are 14 gauge and the breaker is 15 amps.]

    If the receptacles are daisy chained (likely), you could replace the existing 12/2 hops with 12/3 as required. Or you could bypass the daisy chain and go straight from the existing switched receptacle (or possibly the switch) to the newly switched receptacle. In that case you’d want to just connect through the existing 12/2 daisy chain in the newly switched location.

    Since you’ll be adding more conductors to some of the boxes, you’ll need to check the box fill on each of them, and upsize the box if needed.

    I ended up running 14/3 Romex directly from the existing switched outlet to the new switched outlet. Connected the wires color for color, red being the switched plug on both outlets. Broke the tab.

    Again, thank you.

    wwhitney

    Well-Known Member
    • Feb 16, 2022
  • #4
  • That works assuming a 15 amp breaker. But in the new switched receptacle box, the new 14/3 conductors should go to the receptacle only, and the existing (2) blacks and (2) whites should just be connected to each other. That is, all (3) blacks and whites should not be connected together, doing that creates a loop in the black and white, which is not allowed.

    Did you check the box fill calculations for the 2 boxes the new 14/3 run connects to? Assuming neither one is at the end of the daisy chain, the existing switched outlet box would have (2) 14/3s, (1) 14/2, and the receptacle, for a count of 3 + 3 + 2 + 1 (grounds) + 2 (receptacle) = 11 * 2 (allowance for #14) = 22 in^3. If the box is smaller than that, you’re supposed to replace it with a larger box.

    The new switched outlet should be one less allowance (assuming (2) original 14/2s plus the new 14/3), so only 20 in^3.

    fitter30

    Well-Known Member
    • Feb 16, 2022
  • #5
  • Similar threads

    • sactownhero
    • Apr 23, 2022
    • Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    • nxnw
    • Mar 21, 2022
    • Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    • RJHNY1
    • Feb 4, 2022
    • Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    • Larry5
    • Sep 18, 2021
    • Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    • BrokeDIYer
    • Jun 24, 2021
    • Electrical Forum discussion & Blog
    • Home
    • Forums
    • Electrical Forum discussion & Blog

    This is awkward, but.

    It looks like you’re using an ad blocker. We get it, but (1) terrylove.com can’t live without ads, and (2) ad blockers can cause issues with videos and comments. If you’d like to support the site, please allow ads.

    If any particular ad is your REASON for blocking ads, please let us know. We might be able to do something about it. Thanks.

    Last updated on November 25, 2019

    Learn how to replace a regular light switch with a programmable timer switch so you can control your lights automatically! No special app, smart home device, or smartphone required!

    If you hate fumbling for your keys in the dark when you’re trying to get into your home after work, try using a programmable timer switch so you can automatically control your lights! It is really simple to replace your regular light switch with a programmable switch so that you can schedule your lights to turn on and off automatically whenever you want, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And the best part is, you don’t need a separate app, a separate smart home device, or even a smartphone; you just need a few basic tools and a programmable timer switch!

    (You can find a printable version of this tutorial at the bottom of this post.)

    Before doing any electrical work, you ALWAYS need to shut off the electricity at the circuit breaker or fuse box! This is a very simple electrical project, but if you ever feel uncomfortable working near electrical wires, you can always call a professional and have them install it for you.

    How To Install A Programmable Timer Switch

    You can follow this tutorial to replace as many light switches as you want, even if there are multiple switches in the same electrical box! We replaced two out of three toggle switches in one box with these programmable switches, and they fit next to each other just fine in the electrical box.

    However, you will need to purchase a combination decora wall plate. We used this 1 toggle/2 decora wall plate because that fit the configuration of our switches, but just search for “combination decora wall plate” and you’ll find tons of options for toggle switches, outlets, dimmer switches, etc. (NOTE: If you’re just switching one solitary toggle switch over to this programmable switch, it comes with a single decora wall plate in the box.)

    • Time spent doing stuff: 35 minutes
    • Time spent testing: 15 minutes
    • Total project time: 50 minutes

    Materials

    Tools & Equipment

    • screwdriver
    • voltage tester

    NOTE: The switch linked above comes with everything you need to complete this project (except the screwdriver and voltage tester). If you decide to use a different switch, you may also need to purchase a decora wall plate, wire connectors, and mounting screws.

    Instructions

    Start by turning off the electricity to the light switch you want to replace at your circuit breaker or fuse box.

    Remove the screws holding the faceplate onto the wall. Set the screws aside so you can use them to install the new faceplate later, just in case.

    Use a voltage tester to triple check that the electricity is off to the entire wall box and all wires inside of it. Once you’re 110% sure the electricity is off, unscrew the screws that attach the light switch to the box and set them aside.

    Pull the switch and wiring out of the electrical box.

    Pull the programmable timer switch out of its box, along with all the hardware and other pieces.

    One at a time, disconnect the wires from the old switch and carefully reconnect them to the new switch using wire connectors. Be sure that the hot, load, neutral, and ground wires from the new switch match the hot, load, neutral, and ground wires coming out of the electrical box. (If there is no ground wire coming out of the electrical box, you can connect the green ground wire from the switch to the ground screw inside the electrical box.)

    If you’re replacing more than one switch, do them one at a time so you don’t mix up which wire is which.

    Once the new switches are attached to the wires, you can turn the electricity back on to test the switches before you fully install them back into the electrical box. If the new switches work, turn the electricity back off, then carefully push all of the wires into the electrical box behind the switch, and mount the switch to the electrical box using the mounting screws provided (or your original screws you set aside).

    Install your new decora faceplate using the screws provided (or the original ones you set aside), and you’re done!

    The last thing left to do is program your light switch timer to turn on and off whenever you want!

    With these switches, if you ever want to turn the lights on and off outside of the scheduled times, just press the entire door/cover. The light will turn on or off without interfering with your pre-programmed schedule!

    Want to share this project with your friends? Share to Facebook, Pinterest, or send the article by email—just click on any of the share buttons floating on the left, or find them at the top and bottom of this post.

    The swap takes only about 10 or 15 minutes.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    Most DIYers shy away from doing electrical work for fear of getting shocked or causing a fire. And that’s certainly understandable; electricity is not to be trifled with. However, there are many simple electrical upgrades that, when done correctly, are perfectly safe. And few electrical projects are as simple and safe as replacing an old light switch.

    If you have wall switches that are old and badly faded, cracked, or just worn out and ugly, then replace them with brand-new switches. The swap-out takes less than 15 minutes and a new single-pole light switch costs less than a buck, making it one of the most affordable upgrades ever.

    Safety First

    The most important rule about electrical work is that you absolutely must turn off the electricity to the circuit that you’re working on.

    ⚠️: Working on a live electrical circuit can cause serious injury or death.

    Go to the main electrical panel and flip off the circuit breaker that’s feeding power to the light switch. (Or, unscrew the fuse if your home has a fuse box.) Next, remove the cover plate from the switch and use a non-contact voltage tester to confirm that the power is indeed off.

    Touch the tester’s probe to the wires on the switch. If the electricity is off, the tester will not light up or emit an audible beep. However, if the tester lights up or beeps, then the power is not off. Go back to the electrical panel and identify and turn off the correct circuit breaker (or remove the right fuse).

    Now, unscrew the switch from the box and pull it forward. Use the tester to check for any other live wires inside the box. Every conductor (electrical wire) in the box should be dead. Once you’ve confirmed that the power is off to all the wires inside the box, you can proceed.

    💡 Use your cell phone to take a photo of how the switch is wired. That way, you’ll be sure to reconnect the wires correctly to the new switch.

    If you can’t kill the electricity, the switch box might be connected to a cable from a different circuit. It’s not a common problem, but with old houses, anything’s possible. Have the wiring and circuits checked by a licensed electrician.

    Get Started

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    Once the electricity is definitely turned off, use a screwdriver to loosen each screw terminal and remove the hooked wires from beneath the screw heads.

    If the wires aren’t tightened under screw terminals, but instead are pushed into holes in the back of the switch, here’s how to release the wires: Look for a small square hole directly below where each wire goes into the back of the switch. Firmly press a narrow slotted screwdriver or nail set into the square hole while simultaneously pulling on the wire until it releases from the switch.

    Once you’ve disconnected all the wires, bend them out of the way and remove and discard the old switch. Use a vacuum to clean the box of all dust and dirt.

    Snip and Strip

    Check the ends of the wires for nicks, cracks or rough spots. Wires expand and contract slightly every time the power is turned on and off, and they can eventually fail at these stress points. Snip off the damaged section of wire and use wire strippers to strip off about 1/2 in. of insulation, exposing new, clean wire.

    Bend a Hook

    If you plan to connect the wires to screw terminals on the new switch, bend a rounded hook onto the end of each wire using either needle-nose pliers or the hole at the tip of the wire stripper.

    If using the push-in connectors at the rear of the switch, strip off 1/2 in. of insulation and leave the wire ends perfectly straight.

    Attach the Wires

    Position the switch in the electrical box so that the ON position is facing up toward the ceiling. You don’t want to install the switch upside down. Next, refer to the switch-wiring photo you took earlier to connect the existing wires to the new switch.

    Here’s how a single-pole switch is typically wired: The electrical box usually has two two-wire cables coming into it. Each cable has a black insulated wire, white insulated wire, and bare copper wire. Start by using a twist-on wire connector—commonly called a Wire Nut—to join together the two white insulated wires. Fold and tuck the white wires into the back of the box; they’re not necessary for operating the switch.

    Next, twist together the two bare copper wires, leaving about 4 inches of each wire not twisted. Snip off and discard one of the 4-in. wires. Take a green grounding connector—the kind with a hole in its cap—slip it over the remaining 4 in. wire, slide it down and tightly twist it onto the two bare copper wires. Bend a hook onto the end of the copper wire, wrap it clockwise around the switch’s green grounding screw, and tighten the screw.

    Now, take one of the black wires, bend a hook onto its end and connect it to one of the bronze screw terminals on the side of the switch. Take the second black wire and connect it to the remaining bronze screw terminal. Alternatively, if there are push-in terminals on the back of the switch, you can use those to connect the black wires. One of the black wires will bring power to the switch, the other will energize the light fixture; this is commonly referred to as, power in and power out.

    Install the New Switch

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    If the electrical box is made of plastic, as most are these days, carefully fold and push the wires into the box, as you press the switch flat against the face of the box. Secure the switch with two mounting screws, then install the cover plate.

    If the electrical box is made of metal, be sure to protect the wires from contacting the metal box and possibly shorting out. After making all the wire connections, wrap electrical tape all the way around the switch body, covering the live screw terminals and shielding them from the metal box. Screw the switch to the box and install the cover plate.

    Restore power to the switch by flipping on the circuit breaker (or replacing the fuse). Then, one the last step: Flip the switch on and off to confirm that you’ve wired it correctly, and it’s operating properly.

    The Control4 Wireless Plug-In Dimmer and Switch are additions to the Control4 Wireless Lighting product line and are designed with features enabling them to be included with every Control4 system. The Control4 Plug-In Outlet Dimmer and Switch easily plug into outlets to offer complete control of your plug-in lights.

    Important Note: This product requires OS 3.1.2 or newer.

    Features

    • Reduce energy waste and lower your utility bills by setting lights for maximum energy efficiency.
    • Personalize your lights to turn on and off—and dim or ramp—to create whatever mood you desire.
    • Turn standard outlets into a smart way to control plug-in lamps or other devices, no special wiring required.

    WIRELESS OUTLET DIMMER & SWITCH

    The Control4 Plug-In Outlet Dimmer and Switch easily plug into outlets to offer complete control of your plug-in lights. Control4 Smart Lighting control solutions are suitable for all homes and let you add rooms and functions when it makes sense for you.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    Smart Home Magazine

    Smart Home is the magazine that brings you the latest trends in home control solutions and smart devices.

    Get Started

    Sign up below to receive more information .

    We take your privacy seriously and we promise we won’t spam you; please see our privacy policy for details. By submitting your information, you are confirming that you are 18 years of age or older.

    Have a Sierra Electric low voltage lighting system installed in your older home from the 1950’s and 1960’s? Find replacement Sierra low voltage light switches, remote control relays, and wall switch plates that are compatible with your wiring. (Note: Sierra Electric of Gardena, CA went out of business decades ago.) Our Despard line of switches and wallplates are fully compatible with your system. GE remote control relays may be used to replace any broken or missing solenoids in your system, if your switches have 3 wires coming out of the back.

    Shop by Category

    • Switch Plate Configurations
    • Switch Plate Finishes
    • Electrical Outlets & Light Switches
    • Low Voltage Switches & Plates
    • Push Button Switches & Plates
    • Hardware & Accessories
    • Help, Tips & Solutions

    Flat Rate Shipping on any size order*

    • Ships Fast
    • No Minimum Order
    • 30 Day Returns
    • No Restocking Fees

    *Learn More

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    Low Voltage Sierra Replacement Parts, Switches, and Wall Plate Covers

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    Sierra Electric brand low voltage light switches, switchplates, and relays originally became popular in mid-century homes built between 1940 and 1980 but have, for the most part, been discontinued.

    Sierra low voltage trigger switches (sometimes referred to as thumb switches because of their shape) are currently manufactured by Pass and Seymour Legrand (1091 switches) and are compatible with Despard interchangeable style switch plates and mounting brackets (also called straps).

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    Mounting straps for 1091 switches are necessary for holding the switch and attaching the cover plate.

    The versatile strap shown here can hold 1 switch (as shown, in middle), 2 switches (in the top/bottom positions), or 3 switches.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    These momentary low volt switches (rated 3 amps at 24 volts AC-DC) were made for use with copper wiring only and feature three quick connect terminals on the back for simple installation.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    The left side of this cover has a despard switch in the middle position, with blank filler dummy switches above and below.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    Older, discontinued 3-wire Sierra relays may have the part number 1070A, 1070C or 7048S and be marked with the old Square D logo.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    Sierra relays shown installed.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    If you’re looking for replacement outlet covers for old style Sierra outlets, we carry them in ivory. We do not carry the old style outlets.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    Sierra also made this style of triple outlet, which is no longer available for sale.

    Replacing Square D Lighting Components

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    The same replacement parts for an old Sierra system can be used to replace these discontinued 24V switches made by Square D.

    To replace Square D brand switches like the ones shown here, purchase these Pass & Seymour Despard lighting switches. The new switches will not work with old Square D cover plates. They’ll need to be mounted in these despard straps and covered with new despard cover plates.

    Replacement Sierra relays can be used to fix broken Square D relays.

    Replace Switches in a Sierra System – Other Manufacturers

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    Want an updated look?

    You can use GE low voltage switches to replace old despard style low voltage switches in your Sierra system.

    Make sure your old switches have 3 wires coming from them before ordering replacement GE brand switches (which also have three wires).

    Another option for upgrading the look of your Sierra system switches is to get Touch Plate. But, EVERY Sierra light switch needs to be replaced with TWO Touch Plate buttons (one to act as an “on” switch, the other as “off”).

    For example, a cover plate with 2 Sierra low voltage switches can be swapped out & replaced with a 4-button Touch Plate unit (4 buttons in a 1-gang cover plate).

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    There are many options for replacing Sierra switches.

    These smart outlets can add high-tech features to any existing outlet.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    The outlet has to be one of the most boring parts of the home. Oh sure, if you put a butter knife or a finger in there, things get pretty exciting. (Um, don’t do that.) However, it’s an otherwise essential eyesore.

    While we haven’t found a way to make outlets look prettier, there are several ways to make them more high-tech. Lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of “smart outlets.” A smart outlet can easily replace any existing outlet, but adds in remote control over anything that’s plugged in. So whether there’s a lamp or a waffle iron plugged in, you should be able to control that device from anywhere in the world via a smartphone, tablet or other web-enabled device.

    If you’re the type of person who always leaves lights (or waffle irons) on, having this type of remote control may allow you to save a little on your electric bill. Even better, it provides peace of mind. Users can check on the status of devices from anywhere, as well as activate lights and other appliances as a security measure. That means you never have to come into a dark house or appear to have an empty house when you’re out of town.

    The most impressive thing about smart outlets, though? They’re so darn affordable. Let’s take a peek at four smart outlets currently available.

    WeMo Insight Switch
    This WiFi-enabled option only has one outlet, but it does a lot with that one outlet. Of course, it allows you to turn devices on and off from afar, as well as program rules, schedules and customized notifications. It can even monitor whatever is plugged in and send info about that energy hog to your smartphone or tablet. Want to know if the kids are playing video games after school? One outlet is all you need. It also works with everything in the WeMo ecosystem, so you can tie multiple devices together. For instance, when motion is detected, the WeMo Insight Switch can turn on lights and more.

    MSRP: $59.99
    For More Information: Belkin Wemo

    Ankuoo NEO WiFi Smart Switch
    Like all of the other smart outlets on our list, this one adds in remote control, so you can turn appliances and lights on and off from your living room, bedroom, driveway, office, or anywhere else. However, it also features scheduling, a countdown timer, and an Anti-Theft measure that will turn lights on and off whenever you’re out of town. Just download the iOS or Android app, plug in the NEO, and follow the on-screen prompts to connect the device to your home network. Within minutes, you’ll have remote control over whatever is plugged in.

    MSRP: $28
    For More Information: Ankuoo

    Insteon On/Off Outlet
    The hook on these smart outlets is that just one can control two lamps or appliances. Yes, both outlets can be independently and remotely controlled. However, to make that remote magic, you’ll need the $40 Insteon Hub. The On/Off Outlet is tamper-resistant, so little fingers won’t get into the mix. It also has dual-band technology, up to a 15A maximum controllable load for high-current devices, and LoadSense technology. It even has options for scheduling, alerts, scenes, and more. Insteon is selling a standard version in white, but for an extra $5, you can get it in almond, light almond, ivory, black, brown and grey.

    MSRP: $59.99 to $64.99
    For More Information: Insteon

    ThinkEco modlet
    The ThinkEco modlet (or modern outlet) can cut the power to electronics based on a personalized schedule. It even has web-based software, so you can peek in, track savings, and adjust those power schedules accordingly. You can also control devices on the fly, whether through a web browser or the modlet’s iOS and Android apps. Designed to fit into any standard 120V/15A outlet, the modlet has two sockets, each of which has individual minute-level power measurement and can be controlled remotely. Even better is that after two weeks, the software will start to get the hang of how you use certain devices and recommend ways to reduce your energy waste—which you can enable with a simple “click.” Other features include built-in surge protection, schedule templates for common applications, an override function, and the option to download energy use data for further analysis.

    MSRP: Starts at $50
    For More Information: ThinkEco

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    This past summer when Karl and I were renovating our master bedroom, one of the ideas we came up with was to install hardwired sconces on either side of the bed with a toggle switch on each that we could turn on or off from the bed. Sconces in the bedroom save the limited tabletop space side tables provide and are aesthetically pleasing, so it was an easy decision for us.

    I began researching sconces that were in the style and budget I wanted, as well as hardwired. For some reason once you filter out all the non-hardwired in an online search, your options become limited. Add in that we wanted switches on the sconces so we could turn them off and on from the bed and we were left with either spending $100 and up per sconce, or some lights that looked as cheaply made as their $20 price tag.

    That’s when I happened upon these sconces when I was taking advantage of the air conditioning at Home Depot on a very hot summer afternoon 8 months preggo (no a/c except a window unit in our bedroom meant this mama-to-be survived in stores the last month of that hot summer). I liked the look of them a LOT, and for $30 a sconce we were well within budget.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    They were perfect except one minor detail: no switches.

    In my excitement of finding sconces I didn’t think of this until I got home with them. I’d spent more hours than should be humanely necessary trying to find THE sconces, so I was less than willing to take them back.

    Thus began my self-inflicted drudgery of looking up anything I could to Macgyver those lights into switch sconces.

    The scounces were fitted for candlabra size bulbs. I googled for lightbulb socket adapters that came with switches, but no such thing is made for candlabras…period. No idea why not. I looked for candlabra to regular lightbulb socket adapters, and an hour or two later found none that would fit inside the sconce shade…

    I think I was a little obsessed with the idea that there HAD to be a way. We’ll blame it on pregnancy hormones and the heat.

    It paid off though when I had a lightbulb moment (haha get it?) several evenings later: install a switch directly on the sconce wall plate!

    Turning again to searching the web, I had to find something that was thin enough to fit between the plate and the wall, and finally I found success!

    Home Depot to the rescue!

    Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. If you purchase anything from these links I may receive some kind of commission. However, I only mention products that I use and/or love whether I am compensated or not. Thanks so much for your support!

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    The toggle switches cost approximately $4 each.

    All that to say that this is the way that one can MacGyver any wall sconce to have a switch.

    Prep for installing toggle switch:

    First, make sure the toggle switch fits between the plate and wall.

    Using a drill press, make the hole for the switch in each plate. You can stick painters tape or frog tape to the area before drilling to ensure it won’t split the plate or cause rough edges to the hole.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    Installing toggle switch:

    To figure out which of the wires on the switch are “off” and “on”, use a multimeter that’s set to “ohms” to measure continuity.

    0 ohms = “off”, anything else is = “on”

    Shut off the breaker power to the room you want to install the sconces. And since I’m not an electrician and cannot explain the process as well as Karl, here is a video that shows how to attach the rest of the wires so that you can mount the lights.

    Also of note: the toggle switch wires are small and don’t seem like they’d handle a wattage of even a 60 kw bulb, so it would be in your best interest to use your new sconce lamps with LED bulbs so as to not risk overheating.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    There you have it! Pretty simple and inexpensive way to modify any sconce light!

    If you liked this post, be sure to share and subscribe!

    Learning how to wire a light switch is one of the basic skills that every homeowner should do. As a homeowner, you will likely need to replace a light switch many times and paying an electrician is not optimal when you can do it in just a few minutes.

    Our instructions on how to wire a light switch for a standard light switch, a three-way light switch and a four-way light switch are outlined below. It is important to also read the directions that come with your particular light switch because there may be something different about the one you purchased or a change in technology that would require a different light switch installation.

    Before you do anything, you will need to cut the power to the light switch. If you do not know which breaker feeds your switch, then just turn on the light and test each breaker until you find the one that turns off your lights.

    Tools Needed to Wire a Light Switch How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    • Needle nose pliers
    • Wire strippers
    • Philips head screw driver
    • Wire Nuts
    • Electrical Tape

    Basic Knowledge of How to Wire a Light Switch

    • Black Wire – This is the hot or load wire
    • White Wire – This is the neutral wire
    • Bare Copper (Green) Wire – This is your ground wire
    • Red Wire – This wire is used for 3 or 4 way switches and will connect the switches together so they can each control your lights.

    Important – If you are replacing an existing switch, make sure that you take not of how it is wired before you remove the existing wires. See where the black and white wires are connected. If there are more wires for a three-way switch, then also keep track of where those were also connected. You will want to replicate that same wiring scheme when you install the new switch.

    Stripping the Wires

    First, know what gauge wire you are working with. It will either be 12 or 14 gauge wire. Then, use your wire strippers and strip away about 5/8 of an inch of the insulation from the wire. The wire strippers should have a spot marked for each gauge wire.

    Next, bend the wire into a pig tail loop so that you can easily attach to the screws on the light switch. Your switch may have slots to push the wires straight into place rather than use the screws on the side.

    How to Wire a Standard Single Pole Light Switch

    A standard single pole light switch will simply require you to attach the black (load) wire into it, and then the black wire leaving the switch and to your lights. The switch serves to cut the power from reaching the light switch.

    The white or neutral wire bypasses the switch and goes straight to your lights. This wire is needed to complete the circuit.

    The ground wire (sometimes in a green jacket) should be connected to your switch and to your lights.

    When you are finished, it is a good idea to wrap the switch with electrical tape to cover the connections. This prevents the chances of an arc in the event that something comes loose in the electrical box.

    This simple diagram should provide you with the basic understanding as to how a single pole light switch is wired.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    How to Wire a Three Way Light Switch

    A three-way light switch is one where you have two switches that have the ability to control the same light or set of lights. Therefore, the 2 switches + the light = 3 way. There will be an additional wire needed (often red) to connect the switches together to a dedicated screw or input on the switch that is specifically marked for this purpose.

    Three-way switches will have traveler screws or connection points. These will be wired from one switch to the other so that the lights will turn on or off regardless as to which switch you use.

    The white wires in this situation are just connected together and never touch the switches. The black wire is going to be connected to the black screw on the switch

    The main wire that will go from one switch to the other should have 4 wires total (black, white, ground and red).

    Review the diagram below for basic three-way wiring instructions.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch

    Here is our video on how to wire a 3-way light switch

    Wire Nuts

    You have various options for the wire nuts now. The traditional screw type but now also the push in wire nuts which are so much easier. No twisting at all and these take up less room inside of your electrical box.

    How to replace an outlet that’s controlled by a light switchYou can purchase these inexpensive yet effective push in wire nuts here on Amazon .

    Conclusion – How to Wire a Light Switch

    As you can see, wiring a light switch does not have to be complicated. Like any other home improvement project, it simply requires a little research and patience. If you have any questions, simply ask down below in the comments. If you are using a dimmer switch, then see our article on how to choose a dimmer switch before you make your purchase.

    Related Questions

    D o I need an electrician to install a light switch?
    Installing a light switch is something that any homeowner can do if you are comfortable working with electricity. If you are not sure of yourself, then absolutely hire an electrician.

    Does it matter which wire goes where on a light switch?
    It is important to wire the light switch properly and according to its instructions. It is possible to cause serious damage to your switch or fixture and even start a fire if you do not wire the switch correctly.

    Does the hot wire get connected to the light switch?
    The hot wire does get connected to the light switch while the white neutral wire does not. There are some light switch installations that also have the neutral wire going to the switch.

    It is hard to install a 4 way light switch?
    Installing a 4 way light switch is more complicated and is much easier done during new construction.