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craigpall 08-12-2007 09:34 PM

Help with outlet controlled by switch
I have an outlet in my home office where the top part of the outlet is live all
the time and the bottom part of the outlet is run off a single switch. I would
like to bypass the switch so that the outlet is live/hot all the time. The
switch has a red wire and black wire going to it as well as a bare copper wire. I assume I put the red and black wires together with a wire nut but am not sure what to do with the bare copper wire? If its not needed do I just cap it off or do I twist it together with the red and black wires? I'm not sure if the bare copper wire acts as a ground and I'm worried the outlet won't be grounded and will be a shock hazard. How do I safely bypass the switch so the outlet is hot all the time? Tks

SecretSquirrel 08-12-2007 09:54 PM

Since the outlet is fed from two sources then I would feel confident that it has an appropriate ground... that is assuming that your switch only has one ground wire coming into the box. You could proceed with your idea of wire nutting the switch wires together and just stuffing the ground back into the box. If there are multiple ground wires in the box then they should have been connected together in the first place.

Your second option is at the receptacle. You could remove the wire that switches the 1/2 side of the outlet off and on and put a jumper from the side that is hot all the time to the side that was previously switched. I like that idea the best because it removes all doubt as to where the receptacle is fed from and insures that when the appropriate breaker is turned off then the outlet can be considered completely "dead".

Tim45 05-18-2008 09:08 AM

Re: help with outlet
I know the job you asked about is most likely complete already but I thought I'd add my two cents just in case.

If you want to eliminate the switched receptacle, turn the power off to the switch first, then remove the switch, wire nut the the wires, tape the wire nuts to the wire and make sure no wire is exposed and push them back in the box, put a blank cover over the outlet box (I'd keep this outlet just in case you want to use it again) then I'd pull the receptacle out and use a test light to make sure the power is off to both the top and bottom of the receptacle, then I'd remove the receptacle and wire nut the switched wires, tape the wire nuts to the wire and make sure no wire is exposed, push them back in the box (I would not cut them just in case you want to use them again) then get a new receptacle, a good one, and install it the same way the old one came out, just reconnect the the bare ground to the green or black terminal, it is usually on the bottom of the receptacle. the white wire to the white terminal and the black to the gold terminal. If you have aluminum wiring to the receptacle, make sure you use a receptacle that is made for it, it will say on the back of the receptacle, CU/AL witch means you can use it for either copper or aluminum. If you use one for aluminum it will have all white terminals, just be sure to get the the wires under the correct terminals. If you are unsure, just pull out a few receptacles in different rooms of your house and look to see how they were wired. Again, be sure the power is off to the ones you pull out, use a test light or a table lamp, just be sure it works before you turn the power off.

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