Currently, the switch turns the entire outlet off or on for a garbage disposal. I'd like the top outlet to always be on and the bottom to be switched for the disposal.

The outlet has a white wire and black wire, on different sides (see image below). Do I just break the tab off the silver screws side? Do I need to wire it differently?

** EDIT - what I ended up doing was just using a smart outlet, Wemo Smart Plug, on that outlet below the sink and plugged the disposal into that, rather than running another wire down there to make it an actual half-hot outlet. **




box 2

  • thanks! I added more pictures to the post.
    – v15
    Jul 2, 2023 at 20:26
  • OK in those wire-nutted bundles in the back... is there one white with 1 or more blacks? Jul 2, 2023 at 20:43
  • I added a clearer picture of the box. It appears there are 2 bundles of white. Perhaps because they are different circuits?
    – v15
    Jul 2, 2023 at 20:52
  • 1
    Always make sure there is no power on either circuit, turn off both breakers before your fingers find the power is on one circuit. It will hurt.
    – crip659
    Jul 2, 2023 at 21:36
  • 1
    Oh snap. 2 bundles, 2 different circuits. That's necessary. They can't be combined. Down in the receptacle box, 2 wires currently going to the outlet (disregarding ground) - are they both from the same cable? Is there just the one cable in the under-the-sink box? Jul 2, 2023 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


Turn off the breaker and check for no power before touching. You do not want to find you turned off the wrong breaker, been there, done that. Not fun.

You need to replace that /2(black and white) cable with a /3 cable(black, red and white.

At the switch connect the power(cable coming from the panel) black and the black to the outlet together with a short black to the switch.

The red will go from one screw of the switch to the top or bottom brass screw of the outlet, your choice.

Remove the little metal tab between the two brass screws of the outlet.

The white(neutral) wire is on the silver screw of the outlet with the tab in place(do not remove).

The screws are much better electrical connection than the push ins.

You now should have half switch outlet.

  • A number of photos were just added, may want to revisit. Jul 2, 2023 at 20:45
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica Unless there is something strange in the back, OP will still need a three wire cable for a half and half outlet, unless I am missing something(quite possible) and please teach me.
    – crip659
    Jul 2, 2023 at 20:53
  • Thanks for the great answer!!
    – v15
    Jul 2, 2023 at 21:35

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