I was putting in some rope lights in my closet so I put in a outlet and tied it to my switch. The switch box has three 12-2 cables coming in.

One black is hot. They had 1 black on the lower screw and one hot black backstabbed in at the lower. And one black on the upper screw. 3 neutrals were wire nutted together. There were no other switches or outlets in the closet. No fans either. The closet light is out on the porch on a different breaker. There are also wall lights and outlet outside the closet also on a different circuit breaker. Does anybody have an idea about this? Thank you

  • Do you have an attic that might have an outlet or light in it? That "extra" hot goes somewhere and maybe just capped off.
    – JACK
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 19:05
  • 3
    One cable(hot black) comes from the electric panel. One cable(second lower hot black) goes somewhere else(another outlet). One cable(black on upper screw) controls the light/s. The two lower blacks are consider connected together. Somebody is using the switch box as a junction box.
    – crip659
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 19:15

1 Answer 1


When they put in the switch box, they used it as a junction box, probably because it was handy.

One cable comes from the breaker in the electric panel. Think the lower black on the screw.

One cable goes somewhere else. Think the lower black that is backstab(should be pigtailed to first black, then another short black wire used to screw onto the switch). Another outlet or light. Will be one that does not work when that breaker is off.

The black on upper screw goes to the light/s.

This is one circuit so all the white neutrals are wire nutted together.

  • 2
    If you're clever about how you wire your new outlet you can have both switched (for your new light) and unswitched (for chargers or a wifi mesh node).
    – jay613
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 20:21
  • @jay613 we're in the switch box. Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 22:05

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