In the house it seems that the original owner wanted all top outlets to be switched and the bottoms to be always on. I hate this and want to fix it.

So I took all the outlets out from the one room. Now I have two sets of red,white,black,ground at each 1 gang box. How can I properly wire each new outlet to always be on and to only use the white,black,ground without re-running wires?

I tested the wires at the switch box and now I am not getting any power to them, so I'm assuming its safe to cap these wires and hide them in the box, correct?

Update: I found which outlet gets the power from the feed. However, when I connect it to the outlet, all red wires become hot. How is this even possible if the next outlet is disconnected completely? Aren't outlets typically daisy chained? I have 5 outlets in the room and my switch is disconnected. The switch seems to work backwards and start at the last outlet.

Update*: Only two outlets are actually showing that red is hot when all outlets are disconnected.

I believe this is how its wired. enter image description here

2 Answers 2


It would have been simpler to just connect the bottom outlet's live (the black) to the top outlet live on each pair.

The switched live wire (red normally) should be connected through to the end and labeled in each spot (this allows the next guy to restore some outlets to the switched setup).

  • I probably should've done this instead but it didn't come to mind at first. The bigger question is why are all my reds hot when the second outlet in line is disconnected? Is it possible the wires are not daisy chained and all run from a feed box?
    – Markaway
    Nov 12, 2014 at 0:36
  • If that's what you're seeing, I'd say it's more than possible. Daisy-chaining is a convenience, not a requirement. The best non-destructive way to find out what's going on is to hook a wire tracer to the circuit -- pump a signal onto the wires that a receiver can follow through the walls -- and see where the wires go; if you can trace them to junction boxes (eg in attic or basement) you should be able to figure out the wiring. Not a remarkably cheap tool, though.
    – keshlam
    Dec 13, 2014 at 16:58

You should open the switch box, take out the switch, and wire-nut the wires together. It is not the most intricate or "proper" (if you will) solution, but it is simple and guaranteed to work, and could end up saving you a lot of hassle and guess work!

Your alternative is to get a voltmeter and station someone out at the breaker box, because you will need to check every set of wires!

  • The switch is already out and removed. So are the outlets. I believe your suggestion is considered too late. My concern is how the red wire is hot at all outlets since each outlet is already removed.
    – Markaway
    Nov 12, 2014 at 1:02
  • Ahh, my mistake! It is likely that the wires are spliced together behind the walls in weird ways. Nov 12, 2014 at 1:05
  • I'm wondering if an outlet is being shared somehow from opposite wall or something. Just seems that homes wiring is odd. I updated the image of my findings. Noting that all wires are disconnected in each box.
    – Markaway
    Nov 12, 2014 at 1:53

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