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I would like to add a switched outlet just below the light switch in my closet (pic1). So that when I turn on/off the closet lights, the outlet right below it also switches on/off. Here is the wiring for the current overhead light and the switch. If I'm understanding correctly, I'll need to run some new 14/3 from the overhead box to the switch. Can anyone share a wiring diagram for how that'd look? Also, in you experience - is it easier to pull the new wire through from the switch or from the overhead box? (I realize there are lots of variables and it may not even pass smoothly, but if I can avoid the attic, I would really like to). Switch

box

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    Looks like you have conduit going from place to place. Is that right? If so you do not need to run "14/3", you just need to run a neutral through the existing conduit. Carefully check if pulling the blue wire at one end easily pulls it up the other. Also, rather than installing the outlet "under" the switch, it would probably be easier to replace the switch box with a larger one to include the outlet. Then you don't need to connect another box.
    – jay613
    Mar 11 at 19:28
  • Ohh, good point on the conduit. I was assuming it was not present, but it does look promising. And pulling the blue wire at either end does easily pull the other end. So with a neutral wire now run to the switch, any chance you can sketch up a wiring scheme? Thank you!
    – J C
    Mar 11 at 19:44
  • I might do a sketch tomorrow morning, but I think the description in the answer ought to get you there.
    – jay613
    Mar 11 at 22:14
  • You will need conduit between your switch box and your new outlet box - you are evidently located in an LAHJ or Occupancy that requires use of conduit. If it's right there it can be a close nipple, usually you need at least an offset to get enough room for the cover plates not to interfere.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 12 at 0:25

2 Answers 2

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You have a conduit between these two boxes so no need to buy "14/3", you just need to buy a sufficient length of white #12 (if it's on a 20A breaker) or #14 (if 15A) wire. Buy an extra couple of feet for pigtails and mistakes and buy a couple feet of black too.

I suggest you do not put the new switch in a box under the existing one. Replace the existing box with a bigger one to house the switch and the outlet.

Then wiring:

  1. Above the light, where it looks like you have two neutrals connected to the light, disconnect them and use a wire nut to connect the two of them, the new neutral to the switched outlet, and a short length of white wire ("pigtail") that connects to the light.
  2. In the new switch/outlet box, disconnect the blue wire from the switch, use a wire nut to connect it to two pigtails. One pigtail to the switch, the other to the hot screw on the new outlet.
  3. Connect the neutral, that you ran to the switch box, to the neutral screw on the outlet.

That's it. If you want to get fancy you could cut the tab on the hot side of the outlet and connect that to the black using the same technique, to have one switched and one unswitched outlet.

If you really want/need the outlet in a separate box, connect it via a metal nipple, run the white wire straight through the switch box to the outlet one, but otherwise the wiring is the same. The boxes must be metal, and the conduit/nipple nuts must all be very tight to make good ground.

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Jay's answer is fine if you can get away with the receptacle in switch box. If you must install below and assuming NM isn't allowed then here is a possibly excessively detailed procedure:

Install Box:

  1. Trace and cutout opening in drywall for metal old-work box
  2. Fab flex 1/2 longer than box to box, remove locknuts
  3. Fish long piece of scrap wire through knockout in switch box and out of cutout
  4. From cut-out hole slide flex over wire, up the wall into box, attach upper locknut
  5. Push scrap sticking out of wall cut out through knockout in old-work box, push box into wall, secure to wall
  6. Jiggle and manipulate scrap wire until connector fits through knockout, install locknut
  7. Remove scrap wire

Wires

  1. Push white, green, and blue (or any color except white, green, or grey) into new flex
  2. Fish white wire into flex with blue wire
  3. Remove tape from white wire splice, cut free and connect all whites together with wire connector (wirenut or wago)
  4. Remove tape from blue wire, cut and connect all blue wires together with connector
  5. Install 10-32 ground screw with 6" of green wire into switch box and old work box
  6. Attach 4 to 6" of ground wire to switch and receptacle
  7. Connect all greens in switch box and old work box
  8. Connect blue to brass screw on receptacle, white to silver screw

Couple of notes, you need to install a ground wire because the Code limits total length of flex that can be used as ground, and an additional couple of feet might violate the rule. You can use bare instead of green for the ground. Use THHN wire, don't strip and use wire from NM (Romex), individual wires are not marked with wire ratings. Use solid wire, it will push through the flex easier, and if you use stranded you will have to stake the grounds to terminate in box, and you will need to get a "back wired" receptacle. To pull new white into raceway between switch and light you may need to use the existing blue as a pull wire for the white and a new blue.

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