How to Connect an Electrical Plug Outlet to a Light Switch

Written by sienna condy
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How to Connect an Electrical Plug Outlet to a Light Switch
A switch and switched outlet are not typically located right next to each other. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

If you have an outlet you want to be able to turn on and off, you can create a switched outlet with a basic electrical toggle switch and a receptacle outlet. Switched outlets are often used in garages, bathrooms and even kitchens. Once a switched outlet is wired, the toggle switch that runs to the outlet can shut off the electricity running to the outlet and anything plugged into the outlet, saving you energy and preventing electrical hazards.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Circuit tester
  • Screwdriver
  • Electrical switch
  • Electrical socket
  • 14-2 romex cable
  • Electrical nuts
  • Wire cutters

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn off all power to both the switch and the electrical socket. Use a circuit tester to double-check that no power is running to the circuit.

  2. 2

    Unscrew the face plate and the switch from the wall. Pull the switch out of the wall, so you can see the wires.

  3. 3

    Unscrew the face plate and the outlet from the wall. Remove the outlet from the wall, so you can see the wires.

  4. 4

    Detach the wires running to the outlet and the switch. Unscrew each of the screws a little to enable removal of the wires.

  5. 5

    Run a piece of 14-2 romex cable from the switch to the outlet. Remove the old wire that was running to the outlet.

  6. 6

    Wrap the black, hot wire around the top black screw on the outlet. Do not break the tab between the two black screws.

  7. 7

    Wrap the white, neutral wire around the silver screw on the left side of the outlet.

  8. 8

    Wrap the copper or green grounding wire to the green grounding screw at the bottom of the outlet.

  9. 9

    Fold the wires back into the receptacle box, and screw the outlet back into the wall. Screw the face plate over the outlet.

  10. 10

    Go to the switch. Attach the black hot wire running from your main electrical source to the bottom screw on the switch.

  11. 11

    Wrap the black hot wire from the outlet around the top screw on the switch.

  12. 12

    Connect the white neutral wire running from your main electrical source to the white neutral wire running from the outlet, using an electrical nut.

  13. 13

    Connect the green or copper grounding wires from the outlet, the switch and the main electrical source together using an electrical nut.

  14. 14

    Fold the wires back into the switch box. Screw the switch back into place. Screw on the switch face plate.

Tips and warnings

  • If the outlet you're turning into a switched outlet was part of a larger circuit before, you'll need to rewire the last outlet before the switched outlet, so it is the last one in the series and creates a complete circuit.
  • If you need to remove wire insulation before you can wrap the wires around the screws, use a pair of wire cutters to peel the plastic back from the wire.
  • Always turn off the electricity before working with any household electrical elements.

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