Last winter I pulled power into an attic. I put in a 2 gang box with 2 switches. One switch controls a light in the attic and works fine. The second controls an outlet and I realized months later that power is always on, the switch has no affect.

I had used some wiring books and made up the wiring diagram myself, so I'm guessing I have something wired incorrectly? I have black, white and ground in the power coming in and power to light and black, red, white and ground in the power to the switched outlet. If I need to pull the outlet to diagram how it's wiring I can do that. Here is what I have in the box for the switches:enter image description here

EDIT: I'd like the whole outlet to work on the switch, nothing continuous.

Edit to add a photo of why I wired the receptacle the way I did. Changing it to the solution check-marked below worked. enter image description here

  • Also you don't splice (connecting of 2 or more wires)outside of the box all slipices should be done with 8inches of wire so your connections can have about 6" of wire left over when done with slipices.
    – Alex
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 2:12

2 Answers 2


If you had intended for the outlet to be switched then the outlet should have been wired to the red switched wire going to the "hot" side of the outlet. The "neutral" side of the outlet would have been connected to the white wire. In this case the black wire in the outlet box should have been simply wire nutted to cover its end and pushed to the back of the box whist not being connected to anything.

The black wire could come into play if the outlet was a duplex one (two outlets). The usage would be that one of the two would be switched and the other powered all the time. To wire this up you would remove the breakaway tab on the "hot" side of the outlet. Leave the breakaway tab in place on the "neutral" side of the outlet. The black wire would connect to the always on outlet in its "hot" side. The red wire would connect to the switched outlet on its "hot" side. Finally, like before, the white wire would connect to the common "neutral" side of the outlet.

  • Thank you! Switching the wires in the receptacle box worked. I had wired it based on a diagram in Stanley Complete Wiring, page 189 which I added on to the question above.
    – user20127
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 15:57
  • That's what I said.
    – Trout
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 1:38

You forgot to break the tab off on the outlet.

You want the red line to control one half the duplex? And the Black to feed the other continuously? There's a little copper tab between the hot screws that you remove to do this.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.