I have a closet with a light switch and a recessed light. I want to add an outlet to the ceiling of the closet. I have really good attic access to the recessed light, so actually placing the receptacle up there will be very easy.

The light is attached to a switch inside the closet. Just one black wire goes into it and one white wire comes out.

I'm wondering if I can somehow insert the outlet into this wiring configuration without it turning off when the light switch is off. I'm afraid it might not be possible.

If that isn't possible, would I be able to pull electricity off the source that runs into the light switch receptacle? Ideas on how I would configure the wiring?

Here is what the outlet looks like. Here is what the outlet looks like. I believe power comes from the bottom. Can I just plug another black wire into the yellow coupler with the blacks and another white into the other yellow coupler with the whites and the ground to the ground coupler and then just run my outlet off that?

  • 2
    How many wires are in the light fixture box, and how many are in the switch box? These sentences are confusing "The light is attached to a switch inside the closet. Just one black wire goes into it and one white wire comes out.", as I'm not sure if you're talking about the light, the switch or the closet in the second sentence.
    – Tester101
    Jan 30, 2014 at 11:31
  • @Tester101 This question reminds me that more and more I lean toward running x-3 NM for everything (unless it is going to remain exposed and accessible) just to be ready for the next device, change in plan, new technology.
    – bib
    Jan 30, 2014 at 15:45
  • What is x-3 NM?
    – Trevor
    Jan 30, 2014 at 16:21
  • 1
    Still a bit hard to see the black connections, but if the power is coming into the switch box and only switched power goes on the to ceiling fixture, you can't tap off the ceiling fixture for an unswitched outlet unless you run additional cable to the ceiling.
    – bib
    Jan 30, 2014 at 17:14
  • 1
    OK, but even though you may only need a new hot, it must either be part of a cable or in a conduit. If you run a cable, just cap the extra wires and connect the grounds at both ends. And if you are running a new cable, it may just be easier to run it directly to the new outlet box.
    – bib
    Jan 30, 2014 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


Two options:

1) Replace the ceiling fixture with a pull chain model, plus an outlet. Bypass the present switch.

2) Run a new cable from the outlet to the switch box. Your picture shows white color NM cable, so presumably it is 14/2 (black, white, ground, 15 amp maximum). Obtain more wire, and hook three wires (black, white and ground) into the respective positions in the couplers.

Read up on basic electrical safety before attempting any of this. The bottom bundle, as you wrote, is the incoming hot.


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