I have a project where I need to install two boxes into the ceiling of a basement. Each box will have two outlets, one on a switch and the other always hot. Both boxes will be connected to 3-way switches, one at the top of the stairs and the other at the door leading into the basement, in a single continuous line. I can not figure out how to wire this with both switched and hot outlets on the same circuit.

  • Can you post a sketch of the floorplan layout of the switches, receptacles, and fixtures? Jul 8, 2020 at 0:10
  • 2
    You are doing more than is possible with available cables. Can you live with that? Jul 8, 2020 at 0:17
  • How do you feel about running conduit?
    – JACK
    Jul 8, 2020 at 1:15

1 Answer 1


This isn't a hard situation. My preferred approach would be to run power into the first switch 3-way box and 12/3 or 14/3 with ground from that one to the other 3-way switch. Then run the switched cable to both ceiling boxes. That takes care of the switched outlets. Then run a 12/2 or 14/2 with grnd to the ceiling outlet boxes from the first 3-way switch box from the hot, before the switch, to both ceiling boxes. That takes care of the always hot outlets.

I like running power into the first of the 3 way switch, /3 to the next 3 way and from there to the fixture boxes. That way there is no "code taping involved" and pretty straight forward.

Essentially you are going to have to treat this as 2 circuits. One for the 3-way switched outlets and the other typical outlet connections in parallel from one to the other.

  • Thanks, That is what I thought but my "supervisor" was telling me you could do it all with a single 14/3. Glad I am not the only one that doesn't think so. But because I know he is going to ask, what about making each outlet half-hot and linking each section.
    – AZ_CpOrian
    Jul 8, 2020 at 1:22

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