Installing new outlet using power from switch


Old 06-13-04, 05:11 PM
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Installing new outlet using power from switch

I need to install another outlet in my garage. There is a light switch on the wall I would like to use for supplying the power. There are 2 Romex cables going into/out of the box. I have found that one of the black wires is hot independent of switch position.

Can I simply install the box near the switch and tap off of the hot black wire? Any issues about the neutral wire? (There is also several grounds tied together.)

Thanks in advance!
Valenti ([email protected])
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Old 06-13-04, 05:35 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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Please provide more information about the wires in the box. It sounds like you will be okay, but lets be sure.

Does each cable have a black wire, a white wire and a bare wire? Are the two white wires wire-nutted together? Do the black wires each attach to one side of the switch (I mean electrical side of the switch, not necessarily physical side).

If the above is true then yes, you most likely can tap off the hot black wire and the white neutrals and ground for your new receptacle outlet.

However, two words of caution. The receptacle outlet you install should be GFCI protected to meet code. Thiis is easy to do, just use a GFCI receptacle. The real caution is that you may be tapping into a heavily used circuit. If this is true, it means that you probably won't be able to power a hight current power tool or appliance.

If you just want a convenience outlet then you would be okay. However, if you want to power a refrigerator or a freezer, or you want an outlet for your table saw or grinder, then you might be better off running a new circuit. The risk you take is tripping the breaker, which at best is a pain in the neck. At worst it means lost food when the refrigerator or freezer gets too warm.
Old 06-13-04, 06:55 PM
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Thanks for the swift reply!
Yes, both cables have a full complement of wires (black, white and ground). The switch controls the lights in the garage. I'll have to see what "else" is on that breaker. The immediate need for the outlet is an automatic sprinkler timer, which I don't believe will draw much juice. However, if I want to use it for a freezer, I might end up running another line.
Old 06-14-04, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Your plan sounds fine. The receptacle must be GFCI protected, so it probably must be a GFCI receptacle (since it is unlikely that the light switch is currently protected).

If you get a freezer, then definitely get a new circuit.
Old 06-14-04, 08:45 PM
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Thanks! I definitely will.

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