This is a code question and I live in the US.

Some background. My house originally had no overhead lights except for the bathrooms, kitchen and hallways. The rest of the rooms had just one switched receptacle, usually in the most inconvenient spot to put a floor lamp. The house has two circuits for the non-switched receptacles and two circuits for the switched receptacles and overhead lights. I've since rewired all the rooms with overhead lights and most of the switched receptacles I've converted to non-switched.

Now the code question. Is there any code violations converting a switched receptacle on a lighting circuit to a non switched receptacle? Or Similar, could someone add a receptacle to a lighting circuit and still be under code.

  • 2
    An "Outlet", is any point that allows you to draw power from the electrical system. Of which you can have receptacle outlets, lighting outlets, etc. A "Receptacle" is a device, that allows you to connect things to the electrical system via a plug. Of which you can have single receptacles, duplex receptacles, etc. When you're reading National Electrical Code, "outlet" does not equal "receptacle".
    – Tester101
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 12:20
  • "The rest of the rooms had just one switched outlet, usually in the most inconvenient spot to put a floor lamp." implies that the outlets are actually receptacles.
    – Dan D.
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 15:12
  • I've edited my question to replace the word outlet with the word receptacle.
    – diceless
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


Not as long as you have at least one switched outlet. There's a difference between outlets and receptacles. In your case the switched outlet is the overhead lights you added. No other provisions are required.

  • So, there is no code issue having non-switched receptacles on a circuit primary designated for switched outlets?
    – diceless
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 23:41
  • I'm not sure I agree that many circuits are primarily designed for switching and even if they are it'd be more uncommon to restrict a circuit to be switched. Even in lighting circuits there may be outlets which operate on the non-switched side like occupancy censors, motion detectors, timers, and lit switches to name a few. Not to mention that all circuits are switched at the panel. @diceless. Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 1:33
  • I was asking the question since after I did the work I started questioning if it really was acceptable under code. I know bathrooms need to have lights and receptacles on different circuits (unless the circuit only is used in that bathroom then it is acceptable to put lights and receptacles on the same).
    – diceless
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 16:37
  • Every home/apartment that I've lived in (and paid attention to) had the switched outlets on their own circuits. I've never head anything in code but since it was so common practice I've started questioning.
    – diceless
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 16:41
  • @diceless, better safe than sorry. There's nothing wrong with doing it that way but I've never heard of it being required by NEC. The advantage of it being on it's own circuit is in the absence of overhead lighting is the ability to have light when the receptacle circuit trips in the room which is why I would consider it good design to separate them but that's neither code nor applicable in your case. Commented Apr 23, 2015 at 3:57

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