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Old 08-09-2013, 05:06 AM   #1
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


Been doing my research and still having problems. The bathroom light switch is fed with black/white/cooper.

My understanding is black is power, white is neutral, and cooper is ground.

When taking apart the switch, I noticed the ground isn't connected to anything, however the light has always worked flawlessly.

I have a wall outlet to install however, I'm not getting results I expect or need. The closest I got tonight was turning on my test tool (my wife's straightening iron), and once I turned it on, the bathroom light came on as well.

Any help and/or guideance would be appreciated!

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Old 08-09-2013, 06:43 AM   #2
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


If you only have a single cable at the switch with a white, black and ground wire, you can not feed a receptacle from that location. That is a switch loop and there is no neutral present.

You meed to find another feed for the receptacle.

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Old 08-09-2013, 06:54 AM   #3
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


RJNILES is correct----you have Romex or BX wiring-- so the white is frequently used as a power carrier in a switch leg.

Get your own tester------Never assume anything by the color of a wire---check with your tester first----use a two wire tester,the noncontact ones can not tell you if you have a neutral or a switch leg---Mike-----
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Old 08-09-2013, 07:20 AM   #4
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


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If you only have a single cable at the switch with a white, black and ground wire, you can not feed a receptacle from that location. That is a switch loop and there is no neutral present.

You meed to find another feed for the receptacle.
Exactly. This is a classic older bathroom problem.

BY FAR your best bet is to run a new home run.
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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:26 PM   #5
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


With limited options, is there a way to add a neutral in a situation like this?
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:32 PM   #6
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


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With limited options, is there a way to add a neutral in a situation like this?
Only if you ran a three conductor cable from the light to the switch. 14/3 or 12/3 depending on the existing wiring gauge. It would probably be easier to wire a new circuit for the outlet rather than try to pull the old line out to install a new one

Last edited by romex1220; 08-09-2013 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:07 PM   #7
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


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With limited options, is there a way to add a neutral in a situation like this?
No.

The power comes from the break panel. It then has to go through a switch in order to control a light. When you open a switch box and you see only ONE incoming cable, with just two conductors (and a ground in some cases) then you're looking at a situation where power went from the breaker box to the light FIRST and then just a switch leg was run from there to the wall. You cannot use this to power an outlet. Done, finito, not possible.

Your only option is to bring power from somewhere else. And that somewhere else should be from a circuit that can handle the added load. As in, you should not just pull it from any old location. You want to make sure where you get it from can handle the added load.

So your choice is to pull new wire. From where, well, that depends. But you're not getting it from that light switch cable.
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Old 08-09-2013, 02:16 PM   #8
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


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And that somewhere else should be from a circuit that can handle the added load.
No, that just makes the situation worse. A new home run to the panel is the way to go.
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Old 08-09-2013, 05:12 PM   #9
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


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No, that just makes the situation worse. A new home run to the panel is the way to go.
In some cases, yes, it might well make it worse. But then again, if the circuits nearby (from an effort to run wire distance) can handle it then it might be very workable. That and depending on where the breaker panel is installed it might be CONSIDERABLY more difficult to make a run all the way back to it.

Without more details it would be stupid to assume one way or the other.

But the question at hand has been answered: no you can't tie an outlet into the switch the way it's wired now.
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Old 08-09-2013, 05:41 PM   #10
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


Current code requires receptacles in baths to be 20 amps and can not be fed from another room except another bath if only receptacles are on the circuit. If lights and receptacle(s) are on the circuit,, it can only feed that bath. Receptacles must be GGCI protected.
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:24 AM   #11
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


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Only if you ran a three conductor cable from the light to the switch. 14/3 or 12/3 depending on the existing wiring gauge. It would probably be easier to wire a new circuit for the outlet rather than try to pull the old line out to install a new one
If you have access to the light, you should be able to add an outlet off of the light.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:40 AM   #12
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


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If you have access to the light, you should be able to add an outlet off of the light.
Just curious as to why this would be allowed? And technically, what would be your limitations on how many outlets you could add off this light ?

Thanks,

Harry.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:57 AM   #13
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Just curious as to why this would be allowed? And technically, what would be your limitations on how many outlets you could add off this light ?

Thanks,

Harry.
Well, why wouldn't this be allowed? I am assuming since there is no neutral coming into the light switch the power is coming in from the light, then being fed via a single cable to the switch. If this is correct, then the neutral should be located at the point of the light along with a hot wire that is constantly on.... more or less the same as if the power was at the switch. As far as how many outlets (I am also assuming that the light is on a 20 amp circuit for a bathroom) I am unsure. here in the U.S. on a general use circuit there are no limitations as to how many outlets per circuit, however I am unsure about bathrooms. Maybe someone else can help here.
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:10 AM   #14
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


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Originally Posted by diyer111 View Post
Well, why wouldn't this be allowed? I am assuming since there is no neutral coming into the light switch the power is coming in from the light, then being fed via a single cable to the switch. If this is correct, then the neutral should be located at the point of the light along with a hot wire that is constantly on.... more or less the same as if the power was at the switch. As far as how many outlets (I am also assuming that the light is on a 20 amp circuit for a bathroom) I am unsure. here in the U.S. on a general use circuit there are no limitations as to how many outlets per circuit, however I am unsure about bathrooms. Maybe someone else can help here.
Thanks for the explanation diyer. I'm also in the US (NYC) but am a good old-fashioned newbie when it comes to electrical. As a warning, I may ask really dumb questions on this forum from time to time, please forgive me in advance.
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:55 PM   #15
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Wiring Outlet from Bathroom Light-Switch


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I am also assuming that the light is on a 20 amp circuit for a bathroom
My assumption is that if it was a 20 amp bathroom circuit, the OP would not be trying to add the receptacle off of the switch. There would already be at least one receptacle.

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