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I am wanting to add an outlet to my bathroom. There is currently a light switch with a black and white wire. The green wire looks to be running somewhere else. This switch goes to a light fixture with a 2 prong outlet.

I am replacing the light fixture to one without the outlet and want to replace the single switch to a combination receptacle.

  • 3
    You can't without a rewire That switch is a switch loop with only hot and switch hot, no neutral that is needed for a receptacle.
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 22:29
  • 1
    @crip659: I think that's an answer, though not the one the querant wanted. One could expand upon it by explaining switch loops, but I think that's better addressed in a "what is a switch loop, and if it can't do what I need what are my options" sort of question. Which we may already have one of; we certainly have the parts of it scattered around through other answers.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 23:54
  • @keshlam Would the OP be able to use a wiremold type circuit from the light? Do not know if that will be allowed under recent code.
    – crip659
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 0:00
  • I"m the wrong one to ask about code; I know only enough to know when to stop before I shoot my foot off. I am (or was) an EE, not an electrician; the theory is the same but practicalities can be quite different. I'd trust myself wiring a branch circuit or installing a breaker; once it gets into edge cases I start asking folks like the @threephaseeel, or simply ask a pro to do it while I watch and try to learn.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 0:08

1 Answer 1


You are going to need to replace the 12/2 or 14/2 NM cable with some 12/3 or 14/3 cable. Right now, you have the neutral connected to the light fixture and the always hot connected to the white wire running down to the switch and the black wire from the switch going back to control the light. You have no neutral at the switch location. You need a NM cable with a black,red and white wire and a bare copper ground going from the light to the switch. At the ceiling, the white wire gets connected to the new light white wire and to the ceiling white wire. The black wire get connected to the ceiling black wire and the red wire gets connected to the black new light wire. At the switch, the white gets connected to the neutral of the switch outlet, the black gets connected to the switch and the outlet and the red gets connected to the switch and becomes the switched hot.

The bad news is that outlet will have to be GFCI protected. I'm not sure if they make a GFCI combination switch & outlet so you'd have to change out the breaker to a GFCI breaker or change out the single gang switch box to a double gang and add a GFCI outlet there.

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