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? Jan 4, 2020 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. Jan 4, 2020 at 19:27
  • Did you just move into the house?
    – JACK
    Jan 4, 2020 at 19:41
  • What specifically should the picture include? Just simply with the cover off?
    – user110778
    Jan 4, 2020 at 19:42
  • 1
    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. Jan 4, 2020 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


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, 2020 at 22:01

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