We had an electrician move outlets and switches in our kitchen and it seems like some stuff wasn't done right or shortcuts taken. Here is our situation. The outlet is half hot and other is on a switch for the disposal. You can see that he runs a neutral to the ground.

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This box has two switches, one for the disposal which is on the left. The middle switch is the kitchen sink light, which is on the same circuit. The outlet is completely on a different circuit. You can see that he is running a neutral to a ground here too.

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Here is my poor electrical diagram too, even though it probably doesn't make sense.

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So, my question is how does this need to be cleaned up to make it safe and correct?

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    Whatever this guy might call himself, he is not an electrician ... – brhans Jun 20 '17 at 19:10
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    precisely why it would be best if the electrical inspector were in the loop, so he can watch out for other bad work. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 20 '17 at 19:18
  • Problem is I can't figure out for the life of me where the power supply is coming from. I am guessing it is black and white on the /3 with its red being switched-hot. Why is the receptacle split? Do you plug something else down there too? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 20 '17 at 21:45
  • @Harper, we plug in a dust buster under the sink so we wanted one to remain hot for that purpose. Would figuring out where the power is coming from be the first step to fixing this? – junta Jun 20 '17 at 21:58
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    @JimStewart because the installer was doing nasty shortcuts. – ThreePhaseEel Jun 20 '17 at 23:08

2 circuits, 1 receptacle, 0 problems

The extra cable running to the problem receptacle is indeed your saving grace, as it provides an always-hot and neutral to go with the switched hot and neutral from the switched circuit.

So, to fix this, you need to:

  1. Make sure both circuits feeding the receptacle-box (the disposal circuit and the dishwasher circuit) are off.

  2. Take the two white wires in the switch box that are nutted to not-white-wires (the one going to ground and the other going to the bundle of hots), unnut them from where they were nutted, and nut them to each other instead. This provides a neutral to the switched side of the receptacle.

  3. Remove the nutted together bundle of white and bare wires in the receptacle box.

  4. Pull enough cable from the cable lurking in the back of the box into the box and strip its jacket and wires back so you can use it.

  5. Make sure the tabs on both sides of the receptacle device are broken off.

  6. Nut the two bare wires in the receptacle box together and to a pigtail going to the receptacle's ground screw.

  7. Wire the white wires to the silver screws on the receptacle and the corresponding black wires to the corresponding brass screws on the receptacle.

  8. Button everything back up and turn both circuits back on.

  9. Enjoy your new half-switched receptacle!

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  • thanks for explaining the fix. Can you clarify this question? On the 3-wire cable that comes into the light switch, the black is bring the power into the the switch, what is the purpose of the red wire? – junta Aug 1 '17 at 22:52
  • One more question. My disposal needs to get moved to it's own circuit, which I know, but for the time being I would like to move it off of the current circuit because that circuit has stuff like my kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom lights on it. Those circuits will get updated in the future as well. In the meantime, is there any way to run the power from the cable that was left unused in the receptacle, to the other half of the switched receptacle? That way the disposal would be connected to a circuit that isn't used very often and will at least stop my lights from dimming when disposal is on. – junta Aug 1 '17 at 22:56
  • @junta -- it would be best to ask that as a new question (link this question in the new question for background, and if you can get us photos of the desloppified wiring, please do :) – ThreePhaseEel Aug 1 '17 at 23:10

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