Converting Switch To Outlet

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Old 09-08-06, 06:57 PM
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Converting Switch To Outlet

I have two switches that turn the same light on. I want to change one of the switches to an outlet. I hooked everything up to the outlet but it only works when the light is turned on. Is there a way for the outlet to be independent of the light switch? When I replaced the switch it had 2 white wires tied together (not in use), ground, 2 black, and 1 red.
 
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Old 09-08-06, 07:00 PM
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i am assuming that these tw switches are on fairly opposite sides if the room...what you have just described is a 3-way switch.

you an do it but it gets involved..how comfortable are you with working with electricity?
 
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Old 09-08-06, 07:05 PM
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The two switches are actually are about 4 feet apart, so not far across the room. I haven't done a lot with wiring, but know the basics.
 
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Old 09-08-06, 07:12 PM
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ok....here's the basic idea...your plug will have to go on the other switch (if that makes sense) here's what you're gonna want to do. on the swich you replaced with the outlet you want to put a single pole switch on the two black wires (one on each screw terminal and the ground on the ground screw) cap the red wire off.

Now go to the other switch box...cap off the red here too. make a joint on the two blacks you have in this box (but leave a stinger which will go to the plug you are going to install) now make a stinger on your whites (neutral...also to go to the plug), and install your plug on your stingers and connect the ground to the ground screw.

Oh yeah...btw. I could be wrong about it needing to be in the other switch box...(sorry just thought about it) Basically you need to put the plug in the box that has the "constant hot" in it..so it may be this box or it may be the other box...If you have a meter this will not be difficult to determine.
 

Last edited by Sthrnamp; 09-08-06 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 09-09-06, 03:59 AM
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If you want to REPLACE the switch with a receptacle, then you can do this. However, I do not recommend replacing the switch if it will in any way create a safety hazard or code violation.

Depending on which end of the switches you have you MAY be able to add the receptacle and keep the switch.

Two (or more) switches are required or recommended in certain situations in a residence. These being at the top and bottom of stairs, and at each entrance to a room. The idea is that you want to be able to turn a light on to see where you are going.

Why don't you describe your setup to us and we can better help. Where in your house is this located? Why are there two switches? How many wires in total were in this box, etc.

By the way, those two white wires tied together are very important. They are not simply "not in use". They are carrying neutral current, which is very important to the operation of the lights and the receptacle you want to add.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 07:18 AM
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The switch is in the kitchen area. The switches are located on the same wall next to different entrances to the room - switches are less than 6 ft apart. The box that I tried to put the outlet in had 2 black wires, 1 red, 2 white, and 1 ground. I haven't looked at the other switch. I don't think replacing the switch creates a safety hazard since there are other lights to turn on. For example, in the area I mentioned above there is a small entrance way with a light switch to turn on just as you enter that short hallway before the kitchen. On the other side there is a switch for the eat-in kitchen area.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 10:37 AM
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Both switches are present because there are two ways to get in/out. As I eluded to before, code does not want you traversing the kitchen in the dark. Whether there would be a code violation or not might be a call for an inspector. I tend to think you would be creating a violation.

The kitchen also brings up an issue. Where in relation to any counter tops would this new receptacle be located?

As for your first attempt, exactly what did you do, and to which wires did you connect the receptacle? Did you remove the switch?
 
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Old 09-09-06, 10:45 AM
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The lighting in the kitchen and the recs cannot be on the same circuit. Unless someone wants to pull out a trump card on this outlet not meeting the criteria for one of the required outlets bla bla bla. I would not argue that side, and I think most inspectors would argue my side.

Also, local building code may require the switches be where they are, even if it is not coved in the NEC.

I see no benifit in changing out a switch for a rec, beyond someone being to lazy or cheep to install a proper outlet where needed.

We should change the direction of this thread to "how to install on outlet for .. (the thing) in my kitchen.) and leave the switch alone.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 12:14 PM
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I agree with both above. A new rec. could be placed in the exact location needed. In my area ANY rec. in a kitchen MUST be GFCI.(excluding appliances DW,Pig etc.)
Is this a "NEW" house or just new to you? If newly constructed a new outlet should be easy to install.
 
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