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I currently have a light switch in my bathroom that controls the light and also the only outlet. Can I remove the bypass the switch so the outlet stays hot or do I need to run a new line for the outlet?

  • Surely in most jurisdictions it is illegal to have an electrical outlet in a bathroom. – Chenmunka Feb 19 at 11:11
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    In the US it is standard to have one electrical outlet (receptacle) in the "bathroom". In our basic layout the toilet, the shower (or tub/shower) and the lavatory are arrayed around the same small room. A duplex electrical receptacle will be in the wall next to the lavatory, about 1 ft above the level of the lavatory. – Jim Stewart Feb 19 at 11:26
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    @Chenmunka -- in the US, it's illegal under the NEC to not have an electrical outlet in a bathroom, see NEC 210.52(D) for details – ThreePhaseEel Feb 19 at 12:41
  • Can you post photos of the inside of the light and switch boxes? – ThreePhaseEel Feb 20 at 0:20
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I doubt anyone would intentionally wire a bathroom receptacle this way. They either made a mistake making the connections / splices, which can easily be corrected, or they ran the wiring wrong, which is more much difficult to correct.

You can correct the problem without correcting the wiring if you convert to a smart switch. If the switch box doesn't have a neutral present, this will limit your choice of smart switch, but it is still doable.

You could also remove the switch so the light and receptacle always have power, and use a light with a pull cord switch - it's perfectly sound electrically, but it's not really done in the US any more.

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    Many older homes are wired this way, in fact it was common in the past for the outlet to be part of a vanity light fixture. – Ed Beal Feb 19 at 15:13
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Yes, you can do this. If you already have an outlet, then it means you have both a hot an neutral in the box.

If I were you, I'd make sure the new outlet is a GFCI. It's not only required by code, it's also a safety issue. You can then attach the light switch to the LOAD side and it will be protected by the GFCI as well.

  • The receptacle is not necessarily fed through the switch box ... could be the switched hot was mistakenly connected to the receptacle feed's hot in the ceiling by the light. – batsplatsterson Feb 19 at 14:46
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    Lights don't require GFCI protection. If they can be split depends on how they were wired. If both on the same Hot a change in wiring would be needed, we would need to see a photo of the switch wiring and the outlet. If wired with 12/2 a wiring change would be needed if 12/3 or multiple cables it may be as easy as bypassing the switch. – Ed Beal Feb 19 at 15:11

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