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I am adding a receptacle for plugged lighting under cabinet in the laundry that I would like to be switched. I have 2-wire power with ground coming in to a 3-way light switch (#1). A 3-wire with ground goes to light fixture, then on to other 3-way light switch (#2). The receptacle does not need to also have constant power. How would I wire a switched receptacle from the #1 3-way light switch?


I guess I can’t put these images in comments, so posting an Answer here.

I have replaced a 3–way switch in a single box with a double 3-way switch. The upper 3-way switch controls the light and works at both ends. The lower switch has direct current and is wired to the newly added outlet. The outlet switches on/off with the lower 3-way switch but only when the 3-way light is powered on.

Can this lower switch be wired to control the outlet independent of the upper switch?

Following are photos of the double 3-way switch wiring and an edit of the earlier diagram describing the wiring from the double 3-way switch to the outlet.

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  • Please use the edit link underneath your post if you want to update it with new information.
    – Niall C.
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 4:11
  • BTW- if you use imgur.com (SE's image hosting partner), you can upload images there and paste the links down here in the comments. Should you do that, someone will embed the linked images into the question for you.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 14:15
  • You can post an answer in answers. Down below you'll find a blue box that says "Add another answer" - oh wait that's what MY screen says, yours probably says "Answer my own question". This is allowed and encouraged here. Commented Jan 25, 2023 at 20:52

2 Answers 2

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Tapping switches for power is "hit and miss" at best. In this case, you have always-hot and neutral, but not switched-hot, so having the socket be under same-switch control of the 3-way lamp is "is not in the cards".

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As you can see, the only place with neutral and switched-hot is at the lamp.

However, it could be accomplished using certain smart switches. The /3 cable wires could all be re-tasked to provide supply hot (black), neutral (white) and switched-hot (red) throughout the /3 wiring... and the smart switch "master" could be at either switch location at that point. Then, indeed, you could tap any location/

Or, if you don't mind a separate switch for your new light, that can be at the first 3-way.

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  • Ok. Sounds like there’s hope if I change to a 3-way smart switch. Which “certain smart switch(es)” can I use? Can I just swap out the #1 switch for this smart switch and wire the receptacle from there, or does it also require re-configuring the wiring at the light and the #2 switch? Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 14:26
  • @Brian both switches will need to be a "made to work together" pair. They will need to use wireless or powerline signaling to communicate with each other, the way Insteon's do. Commented Jan 15, 2023 at 21:54
  • So it seems there isn’t a practical solution for switched power to an outlet using the 3-way switch. Can I pull power from the 3-way switch box for an additional switch then run a switched line to the outlet from the new switch? Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 14:17
  • @Brian Usually not. However at your switch #1 in your particular case, it appears always-hot and neutral are available, and you could put another switch there. Commented Jan 16, 2023 at 20:08
  • I’m back, with good news/bad news. I installed the double 3-way switch, splitting the supply and running power to the upper and lower blacks. I ran a traveler and load from the upper switch to the other 3-way switch and just a load to the outlet from the lower switch. 3-way upper switch works fine at both ends, power from the lower switch to the outlet works but only when one of the 3-way switches is on. So I went back in and broke the tab between the black screws, same result, power to the outlet only when the 3–way light is on. How do I, can I, separate these two switches? Commented Jan 24, 2023 at 18:57
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If I'm understanding correctly, the circled red & black wires are travelers for your 3-way switched lights, while the single wire (red arrow) is to go to the new switched outlet.

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Based on that assumption, the white wire that's also in the cable with this single black wire simply needs to be added to the bundle of whites back here in this image:

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This should get you switched hot and always "live" neutral going to your outlet, allowing the bottom switch to operate the outlet and whatever is plugged into said outlet.

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