I have two three-way switches controlling the bottom outlets in my living room receptacles. I recently replaced one with a Lutron Caseta and it worked great, no issues.

More recently, I went to swap the other three-way and one of the visible receptacles from almond to white just so everything matched. I’m not very knowledgeable with AC but I shut the breaker off and replaced the receptacle and switch wire-for-wire (or so I thought).

I turned the breaker back on and now had constant power to the receptacles, but the Caseta did not have the little green light it normally has, and flipping the three-way switch did not cut power off.

In order to troubleshoot I replaced the Caseta with the original 3-way switch. Same problem, constant power.

My primary issue is the color of the wires does not match any diagram I can find. One 3-way has ground, black, white, and red. Another has two red, one white (no tape), and ground. The bottom outlet of the receptacle I replaced has one white on one side and two red on the other (one screwed one, one punched in). There are no caps in the boxes like I would have expected where neutral is being run through.

So I am thoroughly confused by this wiring, and it seems the most obvious source of the issue is that I misplaced a wire connection in the switch or receptacle, but I have no idea where because none of the diagrams I have found seem to apply. How do I fix this?

1 Answer 1


Based on your details on what you did with the replacement outlet, I'd say you didn't remove the metal tab on the outlet connecting the two brass, power, screws. Doing this allows the two outlets to be split between always hot and switched hot.
The one wire you "punched" into the backstab should be pigtailed so you don't use the backstab. they are very prone to failure.

  • 1
    This is exactly what I was going to say. I was just busy trying to find a nice image to go along with it. Look at the outlet you installed. Between the screws for the wiring, there is a little metal tab - look at the outlet you removed - you'll see the tab is missing. Break off the tab on the new one.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 27, 2021 at 16:27
  • 3
    FYI: I added a picture to your post. Jan 27, 2021 at 18:11
  • You were exactly right, I did forget to break the tab. Everything is working great now -- thanks so much for your help!
    – Geo Ego
    Jan 28, 2021 at 0:02

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