Archive for Thursday, December 26, 2013


Fix-It Chick: Wire a switch to an existing outlet

December 26, 2013


When it comes to electrical projects, wiring a switch to an outlet is a pretty straightforward project.

Step 1: Install a box for the new electrical switch and run a red, a white, a green and a black 12- or 14-gauge wire from the existing outlet to the new switch box. Strip the ends of the new wires.

Shutterstock Photo

Shutterstock Photo

Step 2: In the switch box, connect the green wire to the grounding screw on the switch. Connect the black wire to the gold screw and the red wire to the silver screw. Use a wire nut to cap off the unattached white wire end.

Step 3: Use the circuit breaker or fuse in the electrical panel to shut off the power supply to the outlet the switch will be connected to.

Step 4: Remove the outlet cover plate, unscrew the outlet mounting screws and pull the outlet out from inside the electrical box.

Step 5: Use a voltage sensor to confirm that there is no power running to the outlet.

Step 6: Turn the power supply back on and use the voltage sensor to identify the hot and neutral wires connected to the outlet.

Step 7: Shut the power supply back off and disconnect the green ground wire, the black hot wire and the white neutral wire from the outlet.

Step 8: Cut two short jumper wires. Attach one jumper wire to the outlet’s grounding screw. Twist the other end of the jumper wire into a wire nut with the green wire running from the switch and the disconnected ground wire.

Step 9: Attach the other jumper wire to one of the silver screws on the outlet. Twist the other end into a wire nut with the white wire running from the switch and the disconnected neutral wire.

Step 10: Twist the disconnected hot wire from the outlet and the red wire running from the switch into a wire nut.

Step 11: Attach the black wire running from the switch to one of the gold screws on the outlet.

Step 12: Wrap each wire nut firmly with electrical tape. Run a strip of electrical tape around the edges of both the outlet and the switch to insulate their wire connections too.

Step 13:

Carefully press the outlet and switch into their respective boxes. Turn the power on and make sure everything works properly before installing the cover plates.

— Linda Cottin can be reached at


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