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My home has a half-hot outlet connected to a dimmer switch. I have two questions about it.

First, is this a code violation?

Second, What would be better in the long term:

  1. Change to a standard switch
  2. Replace the outlet with a normal duplex outlet
  3. Other
  • Just change the dimmer to a switch, it's very easy. – Tyson Jan 4 '17 at 23:16
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Some things have a dim view of being dimmed

Things other than lamps, such as motors and some electronic loads, often take a rather dim view of being connected to a dimmed receptacle. This may range from merely "not working" to "overheating and catching on fire", something you (and the NFPA) would rather not have happen. So, the 2014 NEC prohibits your current configuration in 406.15:

406.15 Dimmer-Controlled Receptacles. A receptacle supplying lighting loads shall not be connected to a dimmer unless the plug/receptacle combination is a nonstandard configuration type that is specifically listed and identified for each such unique combination.

This leaves you with two options -- either you can swap the culprit dimmer out for a switch, or you can use a special receptacle and plug to prevent non-lamps from being plugged in to the dimmed outlet.

Going Dimmerless

Swapping a dimmer for a switch is a relatively easy task, at least as far as single pole configurations are concerned:

  1. Turn the power to the circuit off at the breaker
  2. Remove the old dimmer + faceplate from the box and undo the terminal screws
  3. Connect the new switch's brass screws to the two wires that went to the dimmer's brass screws (they may be any color but green or bare). Which wire goes to which brass terminal doesn't matter, either.
  4. Connect any bare or green wire present to the new switch's green grounding screw.
  5. Put the switch back in the box and put the faceplate back on
  6. Turn the circuit back on

Keeping pesky non-lamps at bay

Lutron makes a plug and receptacle combination for this job -- the receptacle you need is a Lutron HDTR, and you'll have to put the matching plug on whatever lamp you plug into the dimmed receptacle, as well.

enter image description here enter image description here

This is the costlier and slightly trickier option of the two, but may be needed if the dimmer serves other lights as well as the half-dimmed receptacle or otherwise can't be removed.

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  • 2
    Beat me to it while I was trying to find pictures of the Lutron plug :) Added to your answer – gregmac Jan 4 '17 at 23:29

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