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Old 01-13-2012, 11:43 PM   #1
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Adding an outlet from a switch


Hi,

I've got an outlet on my mantel that is connected to a switch, so that the whole outlet (both ports) will turn on or off for Christmas lights. I'd like to add another outlet to the mantel, but I don't want it to be switched. Would it be possible to leverage the power that is going to the switch to run to the new non-switched outlet? Right now the switch has a hot (black) and a neutral (white) and ground (bare) coming into the switch box, and the outlet that's connected to it has the same running into it from the switch.

What's the best way for tapping into the power coming into the switch box to add a new outlet while still keeping the existing switched outlet functionality?

Thanks!

EDIT: Please see my second post for clarifications on what wires are in what boxes.


Last edited by skdiy; 01-14-2012 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:57 PM   #2
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Adding an outlet from a switch


You will either need to run new wiring or find a new source of power. The white is not a neutral. It is feeding power to the switch as part of a switch loop.

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Old 01-13-2012, 11:57 PM   #3
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Adding an outlet from a switch


If the outlet is on the mantle,
and the switch loop runs from there also,
then there should be a neutral there,

Is that right ?
If there is a neutral there ?
and an earth also ?
If so,
You should be ok !

Just run the hot line for the non switched outlet,
from the hot side of the switch.

theres only two wires for the switch,
so if you connect to the wrong one
all that will happen is that outlet will switch off and on,
so connect to the other one !

If you have any doubts ?
Or are not sure about anything,
dont proceed until you are sure !

Last edited by dmxtothemax; 01-14-2012 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:02 AM   #4
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Adding an outlet from a switch


How many cables come into the box?

Wires are, well, wires.

Cables are a premade bundle of wires.

I think Jim Port thinks you have one cable coming to the box. In this case, you'd need to run a new wire. I think dmxtothemax thinks you have two cables coming into the box. In this case, you could tap into it. I'm not sure how many cables you have.
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:16 AM   #5
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Adding an outlet from a switch


OK, I just actually went and flipped the breaker and pulled the switch and outlet to make sure I could properly convey the setup. As a note, I specifically requested that all switches have a neutral in the box (this was due to a home automation requirement at the time - house was built in 2009).

In the switch box:
- There's 3 sets of romex in there, all three have a white, black, and ground
- There are 2 sets coming in through the bottom of the box, and 1 going out the top (I believe the top is likely the set that goes to the switched outlet)
-- Both black wires coming in from the bottom are connected with a wire nut, and an additional short black wire then connects it to one of the screws on the switch
-- All three white wires are connected together in a wire nut
-- The back wire that goes out the top is connected to the other screw on the switch
-- Grounds are all connected together in a wire nut and to the ground screw on the switch.

In the Outlet box
- There is one set of Romex with White, Black and Ground
-- White is connected to the silver screw
-- black is connected to the brass screw
-- ground connected to the ground screw

I hope that helps - what are my options like now?

Last edited by skdiy; 01-14-2012 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:03 AM   #6
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Adding an outlet from a switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by skdiy View Post
I hope that helps - what are my options like now?
What Jim Port said. Either from the switch or a closer source.
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Old 01-14-2012, 02:10 AM   #7
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Adding an outlet from a switch


skdiy, that switch box sounds like it's probably at its limit for box fill. What size wire do you have? I'm assuming that this is a plastic box since you didn't mention the ground pigtail being attached to the box. I believe that all plastic boxes are supposed to have their size in cubic inches marked on the inside of the box. Some metal boxes also now have this. See if you can read this number.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:00 AM   #8
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Adding an outlet from a switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by a_lost_shadow View Post
skdiy, that switch box sounds like it's probably at its limit for box fill. What size wire do you have? I'm assuming that this is a plastic box since you didn't mention the ground pigtail being attached to the box. I believe that all plastic boxes are supposed to have their size in cubic inches marked on the inside of the box. Some metal boxes also now have this. See if you can read this number.
It is a plastic box.

It appears to say 24.0 Cu Inches and have 14ga wire.

Last edited by skdiy; 01-14-2012 at 10:52 AM. Reason: 24 cu, not 14
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:02 AM   #9
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Adding an outlet from a switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by zappa View Post
What Jim Port said. Either from the switch or a closer source.
The switch is the closest source... but that's not what Jim Said - he said I couldn't use the switch?

I'd definitely like to be sure on how to proceed before I do anything.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:11 AM   #10
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Adding an outlet from a switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by skdiy View Post
The switch is the closest source... but that's not what Jim Said - he said I couldn't use the switch?

I'd definitely like to be sure on how to proceed before I do anything.
His "you will either need to run new wiring" comment was refering to a new cable from the switch, if I read into that correctly. You simply need to pick up an unswitched hot, neutral, and ground from the most convenient location that is not maxed out loadwise.

Also look at a_lost_shadow's post for box size. I think my plastic boxes actually list the number of conductors in 14 and 12 gauge but they are like 30 years old.

Last edited by zappa; 01-14-2012 at 11:03 AM. Reason: conductors
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:30 AM   #11
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Adding an outlet from a switch


I got curious so I just rooted around in my leftover electrical supplies and found a box. 8/#14, 7/#12, and 6/#10. That doesn't mean these numbers will support the current code but dang!! I can't believe I remembered about those numbers being there.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:30 AM   #12
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Adding an outlet from a switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by zappa View Post
His "you will either need to run new wiring" comment was refering to a new cable from the switch, if I read into that correctly. You simply need to pick up an unswitched hot, neutral, and ground from the most convenient location that is not maxed out loadwise.

Also look at a_lost_shadow's post for box size. I think my plastic boxes actually list the number of cables in 14 and 12 gauge but they are like 30 years old.
It looks like it says 12 for 14ga. I'm guessing I'm probably at capacity then?
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:38 AM   #13
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Adding an outlet from a switch


I don't know, it's been 30 years since I have looked at a code book. Don't know if grounds or pigtails are counted. Just for grinns lemme go back and see if my box has a cubic inch size. It won't help you but I'm curious again.



16 cubic inches. I'm sure someone will be along shortly to help with your box fill question.

Last edited by zappa; 01-14-2012 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:53 AM   #14
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Adding an outlet from a switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by zappa View Post
I don't know, it's been 30 years since I have looked at a code book. Don't know if grounds or pigtails are counted. Just for grinns lemme go back and see if my box has a cubic inch size. It won't help you but I'm curious again.



16 cubic inches. I'm sure someone will be along shortly to help with your box fill question.
Thanks - I had a typo above, it's a 24 cubic inch box.
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:32 AM   #15
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Adding an outlet from a switch


If someone can check my math, here's what I come up with for the switch box. I leveraged the info here to help calculate (http://ecmweb.com/nec/code-basics/el..._calculations/)

1-14/2 coming in to the switch box (2 conductors) (4 cubic inches)
2-14/2 leaving the switch box (4 conductors) (8 cubic inches)
1-Strap/Yoke(Switch) (2 conductors) (4 cubic inches)
1-Ground conductor on switch (1 Conductor) (2 cubic inches)

= 18 cu inches utilized

In order to add one more 14/2...
1-14/2 leaving the box (2 conductors) (4 cubic inches)

= 22 cu inches needed (and I have 24)

Now the box has 12 #14 stamped in it, assuming that means 12 wires at 14ga. So, would that include ground or not?

Either way, I think the math tells me I'm fine to add another 14/2 to the switch box by tying into the hot (black) before the switch and the neutral (white) and the ground. Can anyone confirm all that before I take the plunge?


Last edited by skdiy; 01-14-2012 at 11:56 AM. Reason: typo
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