Here's my current situation. I've got 14/2 to the ceiling. The hot wire has a runner, which runs down to the switch, and the other wire is a switched hot, back to the light. The other side of the light is connected back to the 14/2 back to the breaker.

Some genius in the past, replaced the light switch with a switch receptacle combo. Instead or re-running a 14/3, they simply went hot to the receptacle, and jumpered the neutral side straight to ground. I have disconnected this, but now have a non-functional receptacle where I really need one.

I know I need to run a 14/3 down to the switch, and can easily make this work in a way that is safe and functional. But, I'd also like it to be correct, so that no future person runs into any surprises.

So, what are the appropriate colours to use in my B/W/R 14/3?

I figure it should be a B-B wirenut in the ceiling, run the black to Switch. R Should be the switched hot to the light, and the light back to Line Neutral (White).

Now, for the receptacle, I can take the line off the hot to the switch, and run the free white runner back to line Neutral.

Is this correct? What would an experienced electrician think if he came across that in the future?

enter image description here

EDIT: In the second diagram, the neutral and the ground are not connected.

RESOLVED: Had to break drywall to get it done which led to a patch job. The old wire was stapled to the studs and I had to release it to use it as a fish. Marked the red with electrical tape.

  • I'd still put a bit of electrical tape on the red wire at the switch and the light (just to be safe), but any electrician worth his salt will easily be able to see what's going on (even without the tape).
    – Tester101
    Jan 9, 2012 at 17:03

1 Answer 1


Yes, that is correct.

Another alternative is to disconnect the existing supply, and run a new line to the switch/receptacle. It really just depends on which line is easier to run.

enter image description here

(Note, I just copied the original image, but didn't erase the ground. The ground should be connected to the box and the ground nut on the receptacle, and switch if it has one. At no point here should the ground be connected to neutral, or anything but a box or a ground screw. Thanks @Skaperen)

You should disconnect the other wire though, at both ends, and connect the conductors together so if anyone mistakenly energizes that line in the future, it will blow the breaker.

  • Yes, I'd rather do that, and probably will when I redo the walls in that room. For the time being, I'm limited by the amount of damage and repair I'm willing to put up with. Jan 9, 2012 at 18:42
  • I'm not saying one or the other is better; was just suggesting an alternative. The "better" one for you is probably the one that causes the least damage (and of course meets code).
    – gregmac
    Jan 9, 2012 at 21:31
  • The neutral should not be jumpered to ground. Ground should remain separate. If this circuit has no separate ground wiring, then a GFCI outlet would maximize the safety.
    – Skaperen
    Jan 9, 2012 at 23:08
  • I had wondered how you and Chris both used this advanced circuit drawing program :) Jan 10, 2012 at 12:36
  • Edited original post to reflect that Neutral and Ground are not connected in the second diagram. Jan 10, 2012 at 15:47

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