My setup is as follows:

  • Light Switch
  • Duplex Receptacle with two plugs (upper controlled by switch)
  • Second duplex receptacle (presumably always on)

As far as I know, the second receptacle had not been attached to the switch (but I may be wrong about that). The wife wanted white instead of off-white receptacles, so I replaced the second non-switched outlet with a new white one. I kept the wires attached to the same locations on the new outlet.

Here's what happened: the new outlet works (always on, irrespective of the switch), HOWEVER, now the old switch-controlled outlet is no longer switch controlled (it's always on!).

Any ideas on figuring this out or what might have gone wrong? Is there such a thing as a receptacle that's made for switches vs one that isn't?

1 Answer 1


You forgot to break the tab on the hot side off the receptacle in the half-switched spot, shorting out the switch and making both halves of the receptacle always on. The easy fix for this is to turn the power off at the breaker, pull out the supposed-to-be-half-switched receptacle, break the tab on the hot (brass screws) side off, button things back up, and turn the power back on.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.