Converting Three Way Switch to Receptacle

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Old 12-23-20, 04:20 PM
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Lightbulb Converting Three Way Switch to Receptacle

Howdy!

I'm a little in over my head on what is probably a simple electrical wiring change. I have a bathroom with a separate "toilet room" that does not have any ventilation and is on an outside wall of an older home. I could have an a/c duct run over and also put in a ventilation fan, but those have a cost that just isn't quite worth it to me.

The main issue is how cold it is in there during the winter months, especially when you sit on the throne. I got the idea that I could put a small space heater in the toilet room, plug in to a "smart" outlet control, and in the morning before I get out of bed switch on the heater for a few minutes to warm things up a bit.

There are three way switches back to back that control one recessed light in the toilet room. The power seems to come in on the main bathroom side and there is a four-wire bundle coming through on the toilet side. I bought a switch/outlet combo and a regular outlet, hoping I could get one to work.



This is what I currently have on the left side, and the right side is what I want to replace it with, if possible. I have wired in the switch/outlet combo and can get the switch part to work, but the outlet is not hot. Because the switches are back to back on the wall, I think I could run another traveler or something between them if needed.

This is the switch/outlet combo.

Any help would be much appreciated.
 
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Old 12-23-20, 04:23 PM
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And obviously I know that the wires don't go straight through the wall as it may appear from the diagram, I just don't know where they go once inside the wall to show which ones run up to the light or out to the breaker box.
 
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Old 12-23-20, 04:35 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Your diagram is not drawn correctly but....

You cannot just add a receptacle to the powder room switch.
There are two travelers (switched hots) and common. There is no neutral there.
There is a three wire cable between switches. Ground is not included in the count.
It's 14/3 NM-b w/ground.

Does that 3w circuit control two lights ?
One in the powder room and one in the bathroom ?
 
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Old 12-23-20, 04:55 PM
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Your diagram is not drawn correctly but....
That's probably fair, but the colors I am showing here are exactly as the wires and terminal colors are on the switches.

Does that 3w circuit control two lights ?
There is only a single light in the powder room.
 
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Old 12-23-20, 04:59 PM
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The pics don't show everything, but this is how it was originally wired up. Both switches were the same. White and ground on one side, red and black on the other, with black going to the black terminal.


Bathroom side



Toilet side
 
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Old 12-23-20, 06:00 PM
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I also needed to add heat to a chilly toilet room with an exterior wall and no ducted heat of its own. But a space heater near a toilet would make me nervous in case of overflow.

Fortunately, I have a recessed can fixture directly above the throne. Twice a year, I swap the "summer" LED flood light with the "winter" heat lamp similar to this one. Perhaps this would work for you.
 
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Old 12-23-20, 06:16 PM
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Ok..... your diagram is technically what you see but it's not the actual circuit.
The wiring from each switch goes somewhere else..... probably to the light or a junction box. If the switches were wired white to white, black to black and red to red...... nothing would happen. You need connections to power.

I'm trying to figure out two switches to the powder room light. Are there two doors to that room ?
 
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Old 12-23-20, 06:21 PM
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I'm trying to figure out two switches to the powder room light. Are there two doors to that room ?
There is a switch outside of the powder room above the vanity, along with another switch that turns on the light above the vanity. The other switch is inside the powder room itself.
 
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Old 12-23-20, 06:25 PM
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Fortunately, I have a recessed can fixture directly above the throne. Twice a year, I swap the "summer" LED flood light with the "winter" heat lamp similar to this one. Perhaps this would work for you.
I've thought about it... the issue being that there are a couple of months per year where the morning temperature is pretty chilly (maybe 40F) but the daytime temperature can get warmer (80F). The heater lamp would be great in the morning, but oppressive if you needed light in the powder room in the afternoon.

I am planning on putting the heater on top of the toilet tank itself, up off the floor. I would run it for 15 minutes or so first thing in the morning before I got up just to knock the chill out of the room.
 
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Old 12-23-20, 07:10 PM
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I'm sorry.... I'm having a hard time understanding this. Why do you need a switch outside the powder room and inside the powder room.

The reason I'm asking is there is probably a way of disconnecting the three way switch outside the powder room and converting the one inside the powder room to a single pole switch. If you do that.... you can get a neutral at the powder room switch.
 
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Old 12-26-20, 05:23 PM
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Why do you need a switch outside the powder room and inside the powder room.
I don't (and I'm not sure why they wired it like that in the first place, except for it is nice if I can repurpose the wiring). I bought parts for two different options, the outlet/switch combo and just a plain outlet, and I will use whichever one works. You can flip the light at the vanity before you walk in to the powder room, I just want the outlet inside the powder room itself.
 
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Old 12-30-20, 04:28 PM
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Would it be an option to completely remove (wire out) the switch on the outside and have the switch/outlet combo inside the powder room? I don't really need the outside switch if I can turn on the light inside and also have an outlet for the heater.
 
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Old 12-30-20, 10:22 PM
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Ok.....your next step is to go to the light and open the junction box and snap a picture.
The 3w in the first room can stay..... it will just not work.
In the powder room we need to convert that 3w cable to black- hot, red- switched and white- neutral.
 
 

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