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How can a lightswitch that controls both outlets be converted to switch just one?
January 15, 2012 8:34 PM   Subscribe

How can a lightswitch that controls both outlets be converted to switch just one?

I have a lightswitch (US) which controls both the upper and lower outlets of one plate. In the rest of the house, the switches only control the top outlets. I'd like to have this particular switch only control the top outlet as well. What are the possible scenarios for current wiring here? How easy is it to fix myself?

I own the house, so my preference is to either do it myself or call an electrician. I don't want to buy an remote control or do anything which would render the physical switch useless. Thanks!
posted by cacophony to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This isn't particularly difficult to do, but unless something weird is going on (e.g. only the top was switched previously but it was changed at some point), you'll need to run additional wire between the outlets.
posted by ssg at 8:38 PM on January 15, 2012


I've found http://www.thecircuitdetective.com/ to be the best online resource for DIY electrical help. In particular, you should study the connections tutorial and the comprehensive wiring diagrams. For starters, you'll want to open up the outlet box and see what you're working with.
posted by Durin's Bane at 8:53 PM on January 15, 2012


This isn't that hard a job, if you're comfortable opening the outlet.
Make sure you turn off the power breaker that feeds the outlet first! Just turning off the switch is not enough!
You will only be working on the hot side of the outlet, you can leave the white wires alone.
You need to break off the brass jumper between the hot screws. Leave the switched power one alone. Take off the wire nut that connects the power feed to the switch line and add a wire that will put the continuous hot power onto the other screw. When I did mine, all I needed was a 6" piece of 14 gauge wire.
If this sounds like gibberish, you might want to have an electrician do the work.
I found this, see diagram #2.
Sort of related here.
posted by Marky at 11:52 PM on January 15, 2012


Thanks everyone. Useful links and it doesn't sound like gibberish so I will give it a try.
posted by cacophony at 10:56 AM on January 16, 2012


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