Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>change switch to outlet and switch
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dglenn43
change switch to outlet and switch

I have a location that I need to add an outlet. There is currently a switch there. I found a combo switch and outlet but am not sure how to connect it. It has four posts, two that are tied together with a removable tab. Does anyone have a method to make this work in my environment?:confused:

bp21901
Re: change switch to outlet and switch

In order to help, you will need to describe what wires (their color and where they come from and where they go to if possible) are currently in the switch box and how they are connected to the switch / wired nutted.

Is this switch in a kitchen, bathroom, basement or garage? Is it a 3 way switch (another switch controls the same light fixture)?

What is the brand and model of the switch / receptacle combo that you found? There should be a wiring diagram with that unit. We should be able to help if we can get a few more details.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: change switch to outlet and switch

To answer your question, on the combo unit the Hot (usually black) would connect to the side that is jumped together, on the other side common ( usually white) would be connected to the screw on the side of the outlet, and the wire going to the load (light) would be connected to the screw on the side of the switch.

If the existing switch is a 3-way, that is one of a pair of switches for the light, it will depend on what wires are in this switch box. If you have a red, white, and black connected to the switch and no other wires in the box then the combo will not work.
Jack

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: change switch to outlet and switch
dglenn43 wrote:

I have a location that I need to add an outlet. There is currently a switch there. I found a combo switch and outlet but am not sure how to connect it. It has four posts, two that are tied together with a removable tab. Does anyone have a method to make this work in my environment?:confused:

To Install / Add an Outlet (receptacle), You Must Have:

  • an unswitched ungrounded conductor wire {aka hot conductor}
  • a grounded conductor wire (aka neutral)
  • an equipment grounding wire

We first need to know what you have present at this switch location and whatever is controlled by this switch, this includes the type of switch you have now, and all wires/cables present at both locations and how they are connected, and if the devices being controlled are line voltage or low voltage. We also need to know the path of the branch circuit as it is now and how you want it to end up, as well as the switch loop. Further we need to know if you have multi-wire circuits; if you want power to this outlet (receptacle) switched or not; and if you want a split circuit. We need to know exactly what type of combination device you have (single switch w/receptacle, 3-way switch w/receptacle, GFCI device with switch and receptacle, etc.). We can assume nothing regarding the colors of the insulation on the wires, white wires are often used for other purposes, sometimes incorrectly, sometimes correctly, may have been re-identified (by a colored marking or tape which may or may not still be present) and although areas that shouldn't be re-identified may still have, not so we can assume nothing regarding polarity or wiring errors especially if the equipment being switched is just a simple light fixture.

For example lets say you have a single switch there now, and it controls a ceiling light, the grounded conductor may be at the box in the ceiling and not at the box where the switch is. We also need to know if at that ceiling light is the end of the circuit or if unswitched power continues onward from that ceiling light box.

Things get even more complicated if the switch in question is part of a 3-way or 4-way switch loop and/or if there are multiple lights, devices, etc. being controlled by the switch(es).

JLMCDANIEL
Re: change switch to outlet and switch

From the OP's description we can eliminate it being a 3-way switch /outlet combo and switch/ GCFI receptacle.

dglenn43
Re: change switch to outlet and switch

What I currently have is a single throw switch in the kitchen that controls the overhead lights. No other switches control these lights. It has one black and one white wire, non-GFCI. Also in the box is a double throw switch for a fan with light. It has a black and a red connected to one side on two posts and a white connected on the other side to one post. From what I have been reading, these three switches simply break the circuit to the lights and fan and therefore, I do not have an "always on" circuit to connect the outlet part to. Unless someone has an innovative way to connect it, I think I will have to return the switch/outlet combo and find another way to get an outlet in the area.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: change switch to outlet and switch

From your discription, your assumtion is correct. You have at least one hot lead and switched hots but no common. It may be poosible, depending on the installation of the wiring to use the 2 cond to the light switch as a pull wire and pull a 3 cond cable in its place and then do the combo.
Jack

remedialmofo
Re: change switch to outlet and switch
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

From your discription, your assumtion is correct. You have at least one hot lead and switched hots but no common. It may be poosible, depending on the installation of the wiring to use the 2 conductor to the light switch as a pull wire and pull a 3 conductor cable in its place and then do the combo.
Jack

Maybe someone else will be unsure as to what that meant

buzzbuzz
Re: change switch to outlet and switch

I understood exactly what he meant . :D

JLMCDANIEL
Re: change switch to outlet and switch

2 conductor-2 conductors of electricity ( romex cable usually black insulated wire and white insulated wire plus may have a bare ground wire)

3 conductor- 3 conductors of electricity (romex cable usually black insulated wire, white insulated wire, and red insulated wire plus may have a bare ground wire.

Jack

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