I recently moved into a new apartment, built around 1960. There was no outlet in the bathroom or within 10 feet, just a light switch. So I purchased a CFCI/Switch combo at Lowes. There were only two wires in the box when I opened it up, a black and a white(no ground wire). I wired it according to the instructions, and everything is working fine, except. The outlet will not work with the switch in the on position and vice versa, outlet works fine with the light switch off. Is this normal? I am having trouble shaving in the dark, any advice would be appreciated.

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    Does this help? diy.stackexchange.com/questions/10087/…
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 16:19
  • It is against code in the United States for a bathroom to not have at least one GFCI protected outlet. If you purchased the apartment then the seller could be held liable for any licensed electrical work. If you are renting then you may also have rights to demand your landlord pay for a licensed electrician to fix this. Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 17:53
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    @maple_shaft it might be code today, but I don't think GFCI outlets even existed in 1960, when the apartment was built per the OP
    – Steven
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


It sounds like your electrical box for the switch does not have the power source (line), only a 2-wire cable to handle the switching for the light; the line comes in at the fixture.

Unfortunately you cannot add an outlet to this configuration as-is. You will need to bring a third wire down into the box from the fixture that will act as a dedicated neutral so that you can have the outlet always powered, and then optionally power the light via the switch.

Based on what you've described, my recommendation would be to bring in an electrician to handle this task for you as it requires pulling a new cable from another junction box and correctly wiring it up.


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