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When we moved in we replaced all outlets with Tamper Resistant ones. We had an outlet on the left side of room that was half controlled by a switch. We wanted both outlets controlled so we left the little tab. It worked fine for a month or so. When we moved a dresser on the right side of the room we noticed an outlet had gotten forgotten so we replace it (it had not been controlled by the switch and was always hot.) As soon as it was replaced the outlet on left side of room stopped being controlled by the switch and is always hot.

How do we fix that? Over time we have found other switches that control nothing and wonder if it is a similar situation.

  • Can you post an image of the wires in the box you last replaced? Normally, an outlet box only has 2 cables. I suspect yours has more – Machavity Feb 1 at 15:45
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Well, since you already know all about tabs, I don't need to give the usual "what is a tab" orientation. You were on guard, and didn't make the usual mistake.

Except you did this time. This receptacle you just changed was split, with its tab broken off. You need to do that on the new one.

Or instead, you can simply disconnect and cap whichever hot (always or switched) you do not want, but you've already done that so you know the drill.

  • So the tab needs to be broken even though it worked without the tab being broken? It didn’t stop working until another separate outlet was replaced. – Theclassicalfarmer Feb 1 at 23:51
  • @Theclassicalfarmer I am referring to the receptacle you just now replaced, the one that was hidden behind furniture. I bet that receptacle you just changed, its tab was broken off. – Harper Feb 1 at 23:53
  • Ok. I’ll try that! So if I have switches in rooms and no idea which outlets had broken tabs can I break off all tabs on all outlets and see if that fixes switches? – Theclassicalfarmer Feb 2 at 0:09
  • Well slow down, you should only break off a tab if the old tab was broken off. An unbroken tab is being used as a splice on that side to connect the two screws, so breaking it off where it's needed can blackout outlets. Do you still have the old receptacle and can you check it? – Harper Feb 2 at 0:12
  • No those our electrian and his helper changed. Those aren’t that big a deal, it just bugs me to have switches that go nowhere. – Theclassicalfarmer Feb 2 at 0:14

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