I am in the process of replacing a dual light switch with a smaller switch and an outlet. I have the switch wired and working properly, but I am worried about the next step. The way I understand it, I need to:

  1. Add another wire to the two twisted white wires, and that will go to the white on the outlet.
  2. The leftover ground wire, will go to the ground on the outlet.
  3. Add one more wire and connect it to the existing black wire and that would go to the hot in the outlet.

The black wire is a little odd in my opinion. It's a single one that's connected to both "hots" on light switch. That's how the old one was wired as well.

Am I missing something? Also, what is the easiest and correct way to add those two additional wires? I have no desire to but a 100 foot spool for just a few inches.


  • There should be a tab between the two LINE terminals on the switch. Is the tab broken off? If it's not broken, you don't need the jumper between the terminals.
    – Tester101
    Nov 9, 2015 at 13:55

2 Answers 2


All the bare safety ground wires in your box should connect together. It is not sufficient to take the ground from one romex and connect that to the switch and another one from another romex bundle to the outlet. It is best to tie them together at the back of the box with a good quality wire nut and have pigtails that come out to each unit.

The method to join into the existing white wires will be to use a short piece of white insulated wire that is stripped on each end (pig tail). One end will attach to the existing white wires with a wire nut and the other end to your outlet.

For the black wire remove one end of it from the switch. Then attach two pigtail lengths of black wires to it with a wire nut and push that to the back of the box. One pigtail goes to the switch and the other to your outlet.

To get the stray bits of wire for the pigtails you can either open up a length of surplus romex cable and pull out the individual wires from there OR you can visit a decent hardware store where they very often will sell individual wires by the foot.

  • 1
    Thank you! I should clarify that the neutrals were already connected in the back, and were split to go between the two old lighswitches. The outlets are working now, and I appreciate your help.
    – PBG
    Nov 9, 2015 at 18:23

Looking at the photo, here's what you need to do:

Connect the Gold screw on the outlet to the small black loop of wire on the switch
Connect the Silver screw on the outlet to the two white wires (that are twisted together)
Connect the Green screw to the bare copper wire.

This will place the outlet on the same circuit, but independent of the switch, i.e., the switch doesn't turn the outlet on and off.

Basically, wherever you go, black is hot, white is neutral, and bare/green is ground (for AC at least).

  • 2
    Your statement "if you hook something up wrong, it's just trip the breaker so don't worry." is a careless and dangerous attitude toward mains electrical wiring. Wiring something up wrong could very well lead to someone or yourself being electrocuted. That is a pretty terminal condition and cannot be "fixed".
    – Michael Karas
    Nov 9, 2015 at 4:11
  • Maybe, but I trust my breakers. They're there for a reason.
    – Daniel
    Nov 9, 2015 at 14:01
  • And don't think I don't know what I'm doing. I know exactly what I'm doing, but I trust my safety net.
    – Daniel
    Nov 9, 2015 at 14:02
  • But your comments here are read by a lot of people that do not know what they are doing. Thanks for removing the comments that I found foolhardy.
    – Michael Karas
    Nov 10, 2015 at 1:37

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