I put in a combo switch/outlet. The light switch works fine... but when I plug something into the outlet and turn it on the light goes off. I have 3 wires.. black/hot, white/neutral and the ground. Do I have to have 2 hot wires to make it work right? If so can I use a wire nut to add another hot coming off the hot wire in the wall?

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combo switch


2 Answers 2


You can't tap switches to get power.

Everyone thinks you can -- and you can't.

Switches don't have power. They don't need power, because the power comes from your hand.

What you had there

There was only a switch there before.

And, when you pulled the switch out, there was only 1 cable coming into the box, and it was a "/2" cable (black white bare).

What you have there is an old-school, pre-2011 switch loop. As said at the top, there is no power there. The right wires to make a socket work do not exist here.

In a pre-2011 switch loop, the white wire is always-hot and the black wire is switched-hot. They connect to the switch. There is no neutral and no way to get neutral (and still control the light. Unless you want to get into some "smart switch" black magic, but that requires skills you are a long way from having).

So your plan is doomed.

If a new cable were pulled into the wall to upgrade this to a post-2011 "switch loop", now we have game. But for this you'll need to hire an electrician - not because of your skill level but because of theirs - you need the specialist who is really good at fishing new cables deep in walls through the existing holes without smashing up drywall. That way you don't have a bunch of drywall work and repaint to do.

Unless you enjoy that sort of thing.


If those are the two wires you removed from the old switch then you do need more wires. The wires you have are hot, switched hot and ground. The white wire is not a neutral. If you want an outlet you need a neutral. You can put an outlet but then you can't have the light, which is probably required by code. If the space above this is an attic it might not be too difficult to pull a new three wire cable. If that's what you want to do then post it as another question with some info about how the cables are run.


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