Switched Outlet Wiring Diagrams

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This page contains several diagrams for wiring a switch to control one or more receptacle outlets including a split receptacle and multiple outlets wired together.

Switch Loop to a Receptacle Outlet

wiring a switch to an outlet

This wiring diagram illustrates wiring a light switch to control an existing receptacle outlet. The source is at the receptacle and a switch loop is added to a new switch. The hot source wire is removed from the receptacle and spliced to the red wire running to the switch. The black wire to the switch connects to the hot on the receptacle.

The source neutral wire on the receptacle is removed and spliced to the white running to the switch, and to a pigtail back to the receptacle neutral. At the switch, the neutral wire is needed to power some dimmer switches and is now required in most switch boxes.

Switch First

wiring electrical plug and switch

This wiring illustrates the switched-receptacle circuit with the switch coming first. The hot source is wired to the bottom terminal on the switch and the top terminal connects to the black running to the receptacle. The source neutral is spliced through to the receptacle neutral.

Switched Split Receptacle

switched split receptacle

Here 3-wire cable serves a split receptacle. The bottom half of the receptacle is controlled by a switch and the top half is always-hot.

Switch to a Split Receptacle

wiring for a split receptacle

This drawing illustrates the wiring for a split receptacle controlled by a switch. The tab connecting the hot terminals on the receptacle is removed and the source hot is connected to the bottom half. The source neutral is connected to one of the neutral terminals on the receptacle. The white wire on the switch loop is used to carry current from the source to the switch and it is marked with black tape or paint to label it as hot. The black on the switch loop runs from the top switch terminal to the top half of the receptacle. With this arrangement the top half of the duplex is controlled with the switch and the bottom half is always hot.

wiring a split outlet to a switch

This is an updated diagram for the same circuit. Here the source neutral, known as a grounded neutral, is run through to the switch box where it can be used to power switches that require a neutral connection. A neutral connection like this is now required in most new switch boxes as of the code changes in 2011.

Switch Added to Existing Receptacle

switch added to control an existing receptacle

Here a switch has been added to control an existing receptacle. The switch takes the hot from the middle receptacles. With this arrangement, all the other receptacles are wired directly to the hot source and the switch controls the middle outlet.

Switch to Multiple Receptacle Outlets

switch controls multiple receptacles

This diagram shows the wiring for a switch to control multiple receptacles. The source for the circuit is at the switch and the receptacles are wired using pigtail splices to make the connections.

–In these wiring diagrams, the brass colored terminals represent the hot side of the device and the silver colored terminals represent the neutral side. Ground wires and terminals are in green, including a green dot representing the builtin grounding terminal found in most metal outlet boxes.

–By code, the number of conductors allowed in a box are limited depending on box size. Conductors include wires, devices like switches and receptacles, and some other metal parts. Check here to calculate the number of conductors allowed in a box before adding new wiring, etc.