I just moved into a new townhome and have noticed that one switch controls 3 outlets, a light fixture inside and 1 outside AND a hallway light. The lights have their own switches but will only work if this switch controlling all of those things is switched on. How do I go about fixing it?

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  • 1
    Do you just want to make it like that switch is always on and remove it?
    – JPhi1618
    Mar 17, 2020 at 20:17
  • 2
    Just leave it on. What do you want to "fix"
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 17, 2020 at 20:19
  • I assume that you want to be able to switch the lights and not the outlets? The fix will be to change the wiring. This group is very friendly to specific questions about projects that a person has already put in their own time and effort to try and solve. Have you worked with wiring before?
    – Ack
    Mar 17, 2020 at 20:31
  • I don't want to leave the switch on because one of the light fixtures would remain on (it's a ceiling light.) I'd prefer if each switch controlled its own light and then all of the outlets worked without the switch having to be on.
    – Nikki
    Mar 17, 2020 at 20:53
  • Probably easier to take down the ceiling light, put a remote receiver in, and put the light back. You can then leave the switch permanently on.
    – Damila
    Mar 18, 2020 at 3:02

2 Answers 2


That sounds like your standard basic electrical bodge job, where it once worked, and then some homeowner or handyman got in there and mucked it up good-n-plenty. God knows what else could be wrong in there. Or what else that menace has done!

I gather all this sparky stuff is new to you. You may be better off bringing in a pro to correct that blunder and search for other flaws. They have a fair chance of correcting a dangerous situation.

If you want to take it on yourself, good, but take your time (you don't want to become that menace). Learning electrical is a wide mountain (but not a steep one). I'd hit the library and look at electrical books (adult nonfiction, section 621.3192) and browse a few and find one that speaks your language. Then indulge in reading most of it. That'll establish well-rounded knowledge on the subject, something Google is awful at... and then we or Google can fill in the gaps.


I would just live with the place for a while and get accustomed to it--you might find that the master switch is convenient.

Otherwise, you could install a temporary lock. There are many kinds to be had.

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  • I agree with isherwood. Get used to the place for awhile. We get so many questions from new homeowners who start cutting out switches and then they can't remember how to redo it. We are limited to help them. Just enjoy your home.... and wait out the virus.
    – JACK
    Mar 17, 2020 at 20:43

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