Swap Light Switch for Plug In Receptacle??

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  #1  
Old 11-16-05, 11:49 AM
zookeeper1
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Swap Light Switch for Plug In Receptacle??

Greetings-

My home was built in 1964 (new electric panel 5 years ago), so we're always short of outlets. I have a single light switch beside a sliding glass door, in our family room, that we never use. I was wondering if I could swap out the light switch for a plug in outlet? It will be behind a curtain, so no one will ever see it, and I need the outlet for a lamp

Thanks much-

Debbie
 
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  #2  
Old 11-16-05, 12:04 PM
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Location: Central New York State
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The question is, what does this switch control? And how is the switch wired.

You cannot simply remove a switch in certain places, since certain rooms are required to have switched lights (or a switched receptacle for a light). If you aren't allowed to completely remove the switch, you MAY be able to replace it with a combination switch and receptacle.

However, your best bet is to simply install a receptacle where you need it. If you can get power from the switch you can usually do this with minimal hassle.
 
  #3  
Old 11-16-05, 12:12 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Add an Outlet

You could just add an outlet about 12" above the floor within the same stud space as the switch. This could get power from the switch box wires.

The trick is to determine what wires are in the switch box. There could be just 1 set of 3 wires or there could be more. If there is just one set, then this is just a switch leg and there is no way to get power without having the outdoor light on all the time. If there are more then one set is "hot" and can be tapped into to power the outlet.

Be sure to turn off the circuit breaker before doing any work in the existing box.
 
  #4  
Old 11-16-05, 12:56 PM
zookeeper1
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Thanks for the help! The light switch is actually one of two that controls the overhead light/fan in the family room. The other switch is by the front door to the family room. This house is kinda weird in that it only has 2 wires for the outlets, no third ground wires. When we had our electrical box redone, they had to bring it up to code and put some sort of grounding rod up.

I would love to try and get an electrician out here to wire in a new box, but I live in Phoenix. Trying to get someone to show up for a small job like this is nearly impossible I can easily change out receptacles, but anything more is a little scary for me. Maybe I can find somone who is retired, and just wants to do little, odd jobs. My hubby will be happier with that too. If he comes home, and finds out I changed it out, he is gonna kill me. LOL!

Thanks for all the techno info. I learned alot

Debbie
 
  #5  
Old 11-16-05, 12:58 PM
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You probably cannot install a receptacle here, as it is part of a three way circuit. It is very unlikely that you have a neutral in this box and (more importantly) you don't have a ground wire.

The switch is there because it needs to be. As a second entrance to the room, a light switch is required.

You need to run a new circuit from the panel for a new receptacle.
 
  #6  
Old 11-16-05, 01:33 PM
zookeeper1
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Ahhhh.....okay. Will definately approach it from that angle and just have them run a new circuit. The electric panel is on the exterior wall of the family room, so hopefully that will be helpful.

Thanks for the help!

Debbie
 
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