I am installing an overhead automatic garage door opener. My only power source close to where I will be hanging the motor is an overhead light socket that is operated by a switch on the wall next to the house entry door.

I wanted to know if it is possible to rewire the light socket with a standard electrical plug outlet AND to remove the switch & wire it to provide constant power to the new outlet. The overhead light is on my 15A garage GFI circuit & the opener lists 120V/6A as its power requirements.

I live in the US.

  • 2
    You can do that easily, but are you really OK with loosing your overhead light? You might be able to add an outlet and keep the switched light without much trouble.
    – JPhi1618
    Jan 13, 2016 at 18:49
  • 1
    The new garage door opener has a spot on either side of the motor housing unit for lights, so I do not need the original light outlet there any longer. Jan 13, 2016 at 19:06

5 Answers 5


Yes, absolutely!. You can do this by pulling out the switch, and splicing together the two wires that formerly went to the switch. Then put a blank cover plate over that switch's electrical box.

You should know however, that you don't have to have a constant power outlet for a garage door opener. You can have a garage door opener on a switched outlet just fine. And you can use that switch as a lightweight form of security lockout.

I would recommend instead you put a switch guard like this over it, and just keep that switch on forever. It's less work and easier to undo. It also would let you cut power to your opener if you wanted to without getting up on a ladder.

enter image description here

Put a descriptive label on it "Garage door, do not turn off" if you want.

You can also get adapters that give you two outlets and a light socket with a pullchain, into which you can plug your garage door.

enter image description here

This way you can keep the light in place and also avoid having to do any wiring in the ceiling. However, you should shop around and make sure it can supply the amperage you want. Use LED bulbs to conserve amperage and stand up to the vibration of the opener better.

If you cant find a double-outlet-plus-pullchain-light adapter (above) that satisfies your amperage need, then consider one of the single-outlet adapters:

enter image description here

Lastly, if none of those do what you like, you should replace the light fixture with one that has its own built in outlet, so that you don't lose the overhead light capability. This is rated for the full 15A of a normal outlet, and accepts a grounded plug without the cheater adapter you would otherwise need for the light-socket-to-outlet adapters above.

enter image description here

You can get all of these parts at any common home center. Have fun!

  • 3
    +1 for the switch guard. I was so happy when I found those, and the perfect solution for a novice that doesn't really want to touch wires.
    – JPhi1618
    Jan 13, 2016 at 19:13
  • 3
    I love touching wires. But I'd still consider it this way, because I hate looking at blank junction boxes. Perhaps one other option to improve on this project would be to replace the light switch with a combination switch/receptacle, or just a regular receptacle. They're only a buck and they're more use than a blank cover plate. The wiring job gets slightly more complex. But you get a new outlet! can't beat that! Jan 13, 2016 at 19:17
  • 1
    Great idea Billy! I have an old frig I keep in the garage for overflow, but I have to run the cord inside for power. Replacing the switch with another plug outlet would solve this! Nice! Thanks again! Jan 13, 2016 at 19:26
  • 2
    The switch guards are great. But I don't recommend the adapters and ceramic lampholders, as I find them unreliable, and very annoying. Lights and outlets that flicker or don't work unless you jiggle them. I would not want to plug a garage opener into one, let alone a light. Jan 13, 2016 at 23:35
  • 1
    @Wolf - Yeah, I won't be using the dinky little adapters for this project. I already knew about those options. The garage door opener I am installing has a 3 pronged plug & requires a connection that will utilize that properly to provide adequate grounding for the motor. I wanted to do a proper install, which is why I asked the wiring question in the first place. Jan 14, 2016 at 14:28

If the box containing the switch contains only the two wires that are connected to the switch plus a ground wire, you already have power in the ceiling box. You can install a second box in the ceiling and have both the switched light and the outlet for the opener.

If the box containing the switch contains two wires and ground from the circuit breaker plus two wires and ground going to the ceiling, disconnect the two wires connected to the switch and connect them to each other. Remove the switch and replace the switch plate with a blank cover.

Another alternative

If there is un-switched power coming to the ceiling box, you could also replace the ceiling light socket with one of these:

enter image description here


Yes, "it is possible to rewire the light socket with a standard electrical plug outlet AND to remove the switch & wire it to provide constant power to the new outlet." But, I wouldn't do it that way if I was you.

All you probably have to do is install a new receptacle into your ceiling near your light bulb & then run NM-B building wire to the closest electric circuit in your attic & then connect the wires in parallel with those wires.

Important Note!: One thing you want to be sure of before making such a connection is that you won't be overloading that electrical circuit by adding your garage opener to it. That can sometimes happen when too many loads are connected to an electrical circuit. That task is one of the things a properly qualified technician or an electrician would do for you.

If you want to diy, then add up all of the peak Watts of all of the devices that are connected to that circuit & try to keep the total Wattage under what the breaker is rated for. For example, a 120V, 15A breaker can provide up to 1800W (120V*15A) before it will break(trip). If you only have one light on that circuit & you're using a 100W bulb, then 1800W-100W=1700W of available power. If your garage opener draws a peak 5A then 120V*5A=600W. 600W is well below your 1700W of available power.

But, in general, if you have any other loads on that circuit, they may eat away at your available Wattage & you may not have enough Watts available when your garage open is started. Remember, all of those loads would have to be going simultaneously for the breaker to trip (which usually doesn't happen--but it is possible, depending on your specific loads).

  • Follow up question in response to this answer: Is it possible to "upgrade" a fuse on a circuit? The circuit I want to try and connect my garage door opener to is on a 15A breaker. Can I change that breaker out for a 20A one? In other words, can I install a 20A breaker/fuse where there is originally a 15A one, to give that circuit a little more wattage capacity? (My house is less than 10 yrs old, so all the original wiring is up to current codes, etc.) Jan 14, 2016 at 14:21
  • @thefatherofZEN Feel free to post additional questions as entirely new questions. You won't get a proper answer in comments, and it goes against the form we have laid out here. That said, you can never upgrade a fuse or breaker without also changing out ALL the wiring to the right size.
    – JPhi1618
    Jan 14, 2016 at 14:25
  • @JPhi1618 - gotcha, thanks! I apologize for all my mistakes in asking questions in the wrong places. I will keep this in mind for any future questions I may have. Again, thanks. Jan 14, 2016 at 14:33
  • If every single wire in the circuit is 12 gauge, with no 14 gauge whatsoever, then you can change to a 20A breaker. The cost difference 12 ga vs. 14 ga is like $2, literally. So you never know if the builder was cheap or smart. Jan 14, 2016 at 17:26
  • @Wolf Harper - that is true, however wire gauge is not the only factor involved (although it is the most important factor). The insulation on the wires & around the wiring is also a factor--as is how many wires run alongside it in a tray/channel/conduit. If the wire can not be positively identified & verified to be 12 awg with the proper rated insulation (which is should proper--but may not be proper--depending on how old wire actually is) then a new cable should be installed.
    – DIYser
    Feb 2, 2016 at 6:48

Yes, it is possible.

In the switch box should be 6 wires: 2 blacks, 2 whites, and 2 grounds. The white wires should currently be wire nutted together. The blacks should currently be screwed onto each terminal of the switch, and the grounds should be wire nutted together and pigtailed to the switch. Of course this all depends on the age of the wiring as it might not have a ground or such and there could be other wires sharing the box, but these are the ones you'll want.

  1. Cut power to the circuit by flipping the breaker.
  2. Remove the switch from the box.
  3. Remove the pigtail from the ground and wire nut them back together.
  4. Wire nut the two black wires together.
  5. Add a blank cover back to the switch box.

Your switch is now gone and if you flip the breaker back on now, the light will stay on - constant power.

Now in the light box, you'll have just 3 wires: 1 black, 1 white, and 1 ground. They should all be connected to the existing light.

  1. Ensure power is off.
  2. Remove the light and disconnect the wires from it.
  3. Bring in your new receptacle and connect all three wires back to it:
  4. Connect the black wire to the bronze screw terminal.
  5. Connect the white wire to the silver screw terminal.
  6. Connect the ground to the green screw.
  7. Add a cover and it's good to go.
  • 2
    This makes a lot of assumptions about what the OP has in their home, and the contents of each box will probably be different than you describe more often than not.
    – JPhi1618
    Jan 13, 2016 at 19:11
  • How do you install a (presumably) rectangular oulet into a (presumably) round box that the light was in? Easier to use a light fixture with a built in outlet on the side. Jan 13, 2016 at 19:20
  • @JPhi1618 Possibly yes, but there is only one way to wire a single pole switch. A hot wire has to feed the switch, which then feeds the light, which then runs a neutral back to the panel. Anything else after the switch would be cut off with the switch currently anyway.
    – TFK
    Jan 13, 2016 at 19:35
  • @BillyC. They sell covers specifically for this application, round or hexagonal. - You're right though, it would be easier. I was only answering what was asked. I would still remove the switch though, I think it'd look better blank myself.
    – TFK
    Jan 13, 2016 at 19:37
  • I'm just saying that either box could have 3, 6, or 9 wires in it with various combinations of white and black wires connected to each other. This quickly gets confusing if you haven't seen it before. Your answer isn't wrong - it's just very specific to one particular case.
    – JPhi1618
    Jan 13, 2016 at 19:49

Would have made this a comment if I had more reputation.

I suggest that you leave the power to the garage door opener switched, as @Billy C said. When I had an opener installed I actually had them ADD a switch so I could shut the opener off. As he said, cheap security.

  • Impossible to hack when the power is off (like when you are asleep) or away on vacation.
    – DIYser
    Feb 2, 2016 at 6:51

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