I have a wall switch that turns on one outlet but turns off another outlet at the same time. Am I missing something or what is the purpose of this? Ideally I would have one outlet on all the time while the other is controlled by the switch for a living room lamp.

Any information or advice would be very much appreciated.


  • 1
    Can you post photos of the insides of the switch and outlet boxes in question? – ThreePhaseEel Jan 4 '20 at 19:20
  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. We'll need more info before we could help you. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. – Daniel Griscom Jan 4 '20 at 19:27
  • Did you just move into the house? – JACK Jan 4 '20 at 19:41
  • What specifically should the picture include? Just simply with the cover off? – user110778 Jan 4 '20 at 19:42
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    Apartment? Are you renting? You cannot work on electrical in rental units. No one can, except for a licensed electrician. Not even the landlord! Obviously, you don't have the legal right to alter wiring in a building you don't own, and the landlord isn't allowed either to prevent slumlords from doing incompetent bodge jobs. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jan 4 '20 at 21:53

It sounds like a 3way switch that was wired to power one device in up and another in down , but more likely a DIY screwup that thought this was a way to power an outlet, I have seen this a few times.

  • Thank you all for your insights. I will post pictures as soon as possible when I am back at the apartment. – user110778 Jan 4 '20 at 22:01

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