enter image description hereenter image description hereMy overhead light and outlet in my laundry room are not working, all of the sudden. They are on the same breaker and nothing else in the house is on that breaker. I just replaced the light switch and the outlet, and replaced the breaker that controls the light/outlet. It still is not working. I have an inexpensive volt meter that lights up 110 in the 110 outlet when the light switch is off. Weirdly, the volt meter lights up 220 in the 110 outlet when the light switch is on (but the overhead light does not go on). Only other fact to mention is that there is a 220 outlet right next to the 110 outlet. The 220 outlet has not been used for many years (it was installed and used by a prior owner who were from Europe and had European appliances). This outlet shows 220 on the volt meter both when the light switch is off and when the light switch is on. Any help of what my issue is would be much appreciated. enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

  • Did you check to see if there are any GFCI outlets in the ares that might have tripped?
    – JACK
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 0:07
  • Yes. I actually replaced 2 GFCI outlets (that were broken/stuck), thinking that would solve my problem, but it didn't. All other GFCI outlets in the house are working and not tripped.
    – user107427
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 0:31
  • Can you post photos of the insides of the boxes involved? Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 1:09
  • Yes, photos may help uncover the problem
    – Nate
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 1:22
  • Pictures of the inside of the outlet box and the inside of the light switch box? Or pictures of the inside of the breaker box? Thanks.
    – user107427
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 1:27

2 Answers 2


If you turn that switch on, it will run at 220v, probably your light runs at 120v (correct me if I'm wrong) which means that fluorescent, incandescent or led light will blow up after getting really bright depending of the type of light. Something must be wrong with the wiring in that switch-outlet.

  • Why would flipping the switch on cause it to run at 220, instead of 110 or 120? That is confusing. And, why would it work fine for 15 years, and then suddenly not work? Thanks.
    – user107427
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 12:34
  • 1
    If your meter is showing 220 you may have miswired something. the outlet with both prongs sideways is a 220v outlet, if you have 220 on a 120v lamp it will only last for 1/10 of a second or less but be very bright as John stated. You have changed the switch and outlet so my guess is you wired something differently than it was providing 220 at the light with the switch is on. Many baseboard heaters work this way only breaking 1 leg of the 220v line for example.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 14:24
  • There are only two wires at the light switch. They were both attached to the old switch, so I attached both to the new switch. Does it matter which side the black wire goes into and which side the white wire goes into? I tried to match it Up to how it was wired into the old switch, but maybe I got them flipped. Would this cause it to be 220 volts instead of 110 volts? And would that cause the wall outlet to be impacted? Something happened to cause my light to stop working, and to cause my outlets to stop working properly. Thanks
    – user107427
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 14:42
  • For the 110 outlet, is that the proper wiring to have the white into one side and the red into the other side, with the black capped off? I am guessing the black was used a while back for a second 110 outlet where the 220 outlet is now (not sure what would have been in the other side of the second 110 outlet). Thanks.
    – user107427
    Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 14:45
  • Thanks @Ed Beal for your reply. Are you able to answer my other questions? Thanks.
    – user107427
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 11:36

At first glance, it seems like the switch is putting out-of-phase power onto the neutral terminal of the 110v outlet. The only reason I can imagine someone doing this is as an attempt to turn an outlet into a switchable 110v/220v outlet, possibly originally intended for the 220v outlet (I'm not familiar with European appliances, maybe some are supposed to run on 110 but use the same plug style?)

I'm also not sure how the 220v outlet reads 220v with only one hot wire to it.

Look around for another junction box, probably with a blank plate. I feel like we're not getting the full picture here, and someone switched some wires accidentally while doing work. Could possibly be in the box behind the light as well.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 22:53
  • @Michael Karas did you delete some of the comments and answers to my questions? Thanks!
    – user107427
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 0:50
  • We move extended strings of comments to the chat room where such ongoing discussions belong. No answers were deleted.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 4:10
  • @Michael Karas That's too bad. Once you moved it to chat, everyone stopped responding, and I have not resolved my issue. Are you the person who run's this site?
    – user107427
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 15:54
  • Sorry I haven't received notifications since theN
    – Nate
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 16:59

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