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Old 12-11-2009, 02:38 PM   #1
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Switch outlet in bathroom


We have had a combination switch and outlet in our bathroom for years. Thr outlet will work only when the switch is in an off position. I have looked at the wiring and found the black hot wire connected to the brass screw on one side and the white wire connected to the other side with a small wire connecting the two screws on the white wire side. I would like the outlet to work when the switch is on or off. I have tried a new combination switch with the same results. There are only two wires in the box,a black and a white.
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:10 PM   #2
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Switch outlet in bathroom


Unless this has already been done, or the bathroom outlet is already protected by a GFCI breaker, the existing switch/outlet should be replaced with GFCI switch/combo unit in any case to reduce the danger of electric shock / electrocution.

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Old 12-11-2009, 04:20 PM   #3
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Switch outlet in bathroom


Does this switch operate the bathroom light?



If so, the recep shouldn't work at all so somethings miswired somewhere
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:59 PM   #4
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Switch outlet in bathroom


If that was originally a switch only (usually the case), then you only have a switch leg i.e., there is no neutral present to properly power the recptacle.
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:19 PM   #5
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Switch outlet in bathroom


You need at least three wire + ground for this to work properly. Replace it with a switch only device.
This was improperly installed on a switch loop. If you remove the bulbs from the light then I bet the receptacle doesn't work.
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:50 PM   #6
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Switch outlet in bathroom


You're right. If I take out the bulbs the outlet doesn't work. I put the bulbs back in and the outlet works when the lights are out. This has been like this for thirty years!! I just never used a plug in dryer with the lights on. Thank you all for the advice. I will replace it with a GFCI switch.
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Old 12-11-2009, 06:30 PM   #7
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Switch outlet in bathroom


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Originally Posted by odale View Post
You're right. If I take out the bulbs the outlet doesn't work. I put the bulbs back in and the outlet works when the lights are out. This has been like this for thirty years!! I just never used a plug in dryer with the lights on. Thank you all for the advice. I will replace it with a GFCI switch.
Just putting in a GFCI switch won't work... you need another wire, either by adding an additional 12/2 or replacing what you have with a 12/3.
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:04 PM   #8
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Switch outlet in bathroom


You need to replace it with a switch. You can not have a receptacle there without rewiring. And since this will be a wiring change it will need to be a 20 amp circuit with #12 cable.
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