I have a small room with one switch outlet and 3 Hot outlets on the same circuit. The work is old and ungrounded. I’m looking to make the switched outlet permanantly hot and use the switch location to control 4 new recessed lights. I will be replacing the switch with a dimmer, replacing the outlet with a tamper-resist GFCI. Any help or brief walk through of what to do would be helpful. Here’s the situation:

Switch to the right inside door: https://i.stack.imgur.com/GvQOP.jpg

Switched outlet to right of switch https://i.stack.imgur.com/elfIY.jpg

Hot outlet to the right of switched outlet (https://i.stack.imgur.com/zJBhp.jpg)

  • On the switched outlet, are both sockets switched or just one ? Feb 5 '20 at 14:21
  • Yes both are switched
    – J.Johnson
    Feb 5 '20 at 16:05

You are in luck for making the outlet always hot. It looks to be wired as a simple switch loop.

The only change required to make the outlet always hot is to separate the existing wirenut and replace the black on the outlet with the black that was pigtailed.

You hadn't given any details of how you expect the switch location to control the new lights but if it is wireless or you will fish a new cable to the switch you can pigtail white to white and black to black in the outlet location to get a neutral and live to the switch location for power from that circuit. Make sure to remove the electrical tape marker on the white that marked it as a live.

  • Thank you Ratchet freak. Yes I intended to power the switch from this circuit and fish a wire up to the lights. What happens to the neutral white that is wire nutted to the hot black after I replace the black going to the outlet? Do I connect all 4 wires to the currently switched outlet? Will that then bring power to the switch to which I can wire the lights? Thanks again
    – J.Johnson
    Feb 5 '20 at 15:43
  • 1
    The white wire pigtailed with the black is not a neutral, it is a hot. The black it's paired with is the source hot. The white is spliced into it to take power up to one pole of the switch. Then, the other black wire brings the power back down to the outlet from the second pole of the switch. Inside the outlet box, wire the blacks together and a third black pigtailed to the outlet. Then do the same with the whites. This will give you a constant power at the outlet and provide a hot and neutral to the switch box. The neutral will be "spliced thru" to the lights, the black will go to the switch
    – clwhoops44
    Feb 5 '20 at 15:47
  • I rewired the outlet. So that the incoming hot and neutral from the upstream “always hot” outlet are connected. I then removed the wire nut coming from the switch and connected those two wires to the other neutral and hot on the outlet. This worked to remove the outlet from the switch and make it Hot. To see what would happen I flipped the switch and it threw the breaker. Does this make sense? Had the switch been connected to lights would it have worked and co tiniest the circuit and not tripped the breaker?
    – J.Johnson
    Feb 5 '20 at 16:09
  • Thank you CLwhoops. I just read your post. I will try this.
    – J.Johnson
    Feb 5 '20 at 16:11
  • @J.Johnson what happened when you flipped the switch is that you shorted the live to neutral, which of course will trip the breaker. Until you are ready to make the connection to the light it's best to disconnect the wires from the switch and cap them individually. Feb 5 '20 at 16:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.