I am looking to "close" a light switch that controls an outlet so the circuit is always on. What wires do I need to connect?

There are two black wires and one red wire connected to the switch, with two white wires tied together. Here is a pic of the switch:


Here is a pic of the outlet it controls: enter image description here

  • Will there still be a light switch in a normal location in the room that turns on a light? Or will this eliminate that? May 23 '20 at 18:26
  • Nope! No light switches connected to any outlets.
    – Peter
    May 23 '20 at 20:52
  • 1
    You need an electrician (or an electric-familiar friend, with meter) to suss that out.
    – Hot Licks
    May 24 '20 at 17:33
  • I strongly advise anyone who doesn't already know the answer, not even to think about that. It wouldn't fair if your surviving relatives sued whoever advised you. May 25 '20 at 0:06

You can't eliminate the only switch

Both the electrical and building codes require that every habitable room have a light switch in the usual place, and that it operate a light. (or, in the alternate, because of builder demands, a receptacle into which you might plug in a light).

Builders prefer to give you switched receptacles, because it is cheaper for them to build that. Putting in a proper ceiling light is probably the #1 modification people do to home electrical.

If you were doing that, and connecting it to this switch, that would be copacetic.

However, I gather you want an unswitched outlet there so you can plug in other stuff. You are OK with simply groping in the dark for a floor lamp (since you know how to do that) and turning it on from there. However, that is a code violation.

You can split the difference (er, receptacle)

You can make one socket switched and the other always-on. Receps are designed to do this, and the wire in your walls supports this.

Your switch and outlet wiring actually brings always-hot along; wires aren't normally color coded like this but your wires happen to be, and red is switched-hot and black is always-hot in both boxes.

You see in between the screws is a little "tab". You can bend back and forth and break off the tab on the "brass" hot side (not the silver neutral side). Then you can put a short black pigtail wire from that screw (now isolated) to the wire nut of black wires in the back of the box. Now you will have one recep socket switched and the other not. You can plug in normal things into the unswitched, and still have a lamp on the switched.

Alternately, you can hardwire a ceiling light either from this receptacle or from the switch box, whichever you find more convenient.


Take the two black wires out of the switch, which are actually connected together by the switch and connect them to the red wire so you end up with two black wires and a red wire connected together with one wire nut. Keep in mind that there needs to be a switch by an entry door that can control a ceiling light or an outlet so you can plug in a lamp. You can split the outlet so one position is always hot and the other position is switched hot by adding an always hot to the outlet and removing the link between the red and black wire screws on the outlet.


Cap off the red wire on both sides. You don't need it. Cut the black wires at the receptacle and switch and strip about an inch of insulation at the switch box. Cut the white at the receptacle and strip off about 3/4" insulation. Twist the two black wires tightly together in the switch box, cut the ends to make the exposed wire about 3/4" long and cap off with a yellow or red wire nut. Now put a blank wall plate on the switch box.

Now connect your new receptacle making sure that the 2 black wires go on the right and the two white wires go on the left (assuming your ground pin is on the bottom). Don't forget your ground wire going to the green screw.

If it is the only switch in the room remember that you ARE going to have a code violation, so if that's the case you'll need to reverse your changes before selling.

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