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shujinko 04-30-2011 04:55 PM

Existing switch, replace with combo switch/outlet
Hi there,

Here's what I currently have: A single existing switch that controls an existing overhead pantry light (house built in the 60s). The only wires coming into this switch box are black, white, and ground. With the circuit on I measure 120V between black and white. I need to replace this switch with a switch/outlet combination. My switch/outlet combination has brass/silver on one side, and black/black (with a removable tab) on the other side. Ideally I'd like the outlet to be always active and the switch to switch the light, but if that's not possible the switch can control both the outlet and the light above.

This switch box is in a very precarious spot in my house, stuck between two studs. I found the Romex wire (and the pantry light fixture box) that runs to the switch box under some floor boards in the attic, but when I pull on this wire (from the attic) it feels stuck on something. I drilled through the wood right next to it, but when I try to feed new Romex down it never makes it down to my switch box. Now I'm stumped and frustrated!

A friend of mine thinks that I can accomplish this with jumper wires between the screws on the switch/outlet combo but he wasn't exactly sure how.

Could someone help me out?

Jim Port 04-30-2011 05:02 PM

If the only wires connected to the switch are the black and the white you are dealing with a switch loop and do not have a neutral needed for a receptacle.

shujinko 04-30-2011 05:11 PM

There's three Romex 14/2 coming into the pantry light box that the switch is controlling, so I'm guessing this all exists in the middle of a circuit. Might it be possible to rewire connections in the light box to convert my wire from a switch loop to a circuit loop (but still retain switch functionality)?

sparks1up 04-30-2011 05:16 PM

*Deleted* I didn't see your reply until I had already written it!

shujinko 04-30-2011 05:19 PM

Thanks for the responses.

The ground wire I referred to is just bare copper and it was fastened to the metal switch box, so I'm fairly certain it's ground. Other than that, pretty simple - black to one switch pole, white to the other.

What Jim said makes sense, it's just very annoying that I can't get new wire to this box.

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