I have a 4-way switch which I want to replace with just an outlet. The switch box has 2 red and 2 black wires, as well as ground and white neutral.

Black wires are always hot.

There's a 3-way before this switch, and a 3-way after it. Essentially, I only want to use either of the 3-ways to control the light, and the 4-way is sorta redundant as it's across from one of the 3-way switches.

Do I just connect the red to red and black to black so that it kinda bypasses that switch? And then connect the black and the neutral to the outlet? Does that make sense?

The wiring is similar to this setup, except I only have 1 4-way and not 2, and there's only one light.



  • 1
    The red and black are likely both switched unless you have more wires. In a 4 way/3 way switch, it's going to alternate voltage over the red and black wires as the other switches are toggled. Have you tested this? I don't see how black would always be hot.
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 17, 2021 at 18:04

2 Answers 2


Can’t do it, 4 ways do not work that way. The wires you need (always.hot and neutral) are not present at a 4-way. .

Your only option is to convert the 3-way circuit to smart switches at both ends. That will bring always-hot and neutral to the 4-way location.


I do not think it is a good idea.

Now the whole setup should be powered through a fuse labelled "Lights_whatever" and it it OK. It powers lights as intended

After your suggestion, the "Lights_whatever" fuse will protect lights and something else. And the something else in lights circuit is not OK even if it would work.

My suggestion will be removing the switch, connect respective pairs of "powering" lines and "powered" all live, controls and neutrals, and feeding brand new cable for the outlet connected to fuse "outlets_whatever2".

  • From the terminology and diagram coloring they're using, they're in North America, and both the NEC and CEC allow lighting and receptacles to share a circuit save for dedicated or small-appliance type circuits Nov 18, 2021 at 3:47
  • I got an unpleasant lesson on electric waltz when part of the circuit was proteced by unexpected fuse. And no, I couldn't turn them all off to be bloody sure. If it is legal, it doesn't mean it is wise.
    – Crowley
    Nov 18, 2021 at 12:29
  • I don't even think you can buy a fused receptacle in the US market (at least not for general purpose, residential installation). Whether you think that's good or bad doesn't matter, they simply don't exist. I understand that every cord sold in the UK (and other places, probably) requires a fuse, and there are probably some places where receptacles also have fuses, the US just isn't one of them.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 18, 2021 at 17:22

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