Outlet Switch Wiring Diagrams
This page contains several diagrams for wiring a switch to control one or more receptacle outlets including a split receptacle and multiple outlets wired together.
It is the responsibility of the user of this information to know and understand the NEC (National Electrical Code) as it applies to them, as well as any local regulations or laws that may pertain. While many jurisdictions do adopt the standards of the NEC, some may have requirements in addition to, or exemptions from those standards. We cannot assume responsibility for personal injury or property damage as a result of using the information provided here.
The information on this page is intended to aid in electrical wiring projects that become necessary when doing DIY home improvements and repairs. Some of the diagrams here are for older circuits that may not adhere to the latest code updates. When running a new circuit be sure to use the latest approved wiring arrangements.
In the diagrams on this website the brass colored terminals on the devices represent the hot side of the circuit and the silver colored terminals represent the neutral side. Green is used to denote ground wires and terminals. Not all outlet boxes or older devices will have a grounding terminal. When running new wiring the ground wires should be spliced with a short piece of wire to connect to each device that has a grounding terminal, and to any grounding terminals in the outlet boxes. Also be aware that the white wire may be use to carry current in some household circuits, in these cases it should be marked with black electrical tape to indicate it is hot.
Switch Loop to a Receptacle Outlet
This wiring diagram illustrates adding a switch to control an existing receptacle outlet. The source is at the receptacle and a switch loop is added to a new switch. The hot source wire is removed from the receptacle and spliced to the red wire running to the switch. The black wire to the switch connects to the hot on the receptacle.
The source neutral wire on the receptacle is removed and spliced to the white running to the switch, and to a pigtail back to the receptacle neutral. At the switch, the neutral wire is needed to power some dimmer switches and is now required in most switch boxes.
This wiring illustrates the switched-receptacle circuit with the switch coming first. The hot source is wired to the bottom terminal on the switch and the top terminal connects to the black running to the receptacle. The source neutral is spliced through to the receptacle neutral.
Switch to a Split Receptacle
This drawing illustrates the wiring for a split receptacle controlled by a switch. The tab connecting the hot terminals on the receptacle is removed and the source hot is connected to the bottom half. The source neutral is connected to one of the neutral terminals on the receptacle. The white wire on the switch loop is used to carry current from the source to the switch and it is marked with black tape or paint to label it as hot. The black on the switch loop runs from the top switch terminal to the top half of the receptacle. With this arrangement the top half of the duplex is controlled with the switch and the bottom half is always hot.
This is an updated diagram for the same circuit. Here the source neutral, known as a grounded neutral, is run through to the switch box where it can be used to power switches that require a neutral connection. A neutral connection like this is now required in most new switch boxes as of the code changes in 2012.
Switch to Multiple Receptacle Outlets
This diagram shows the wiring for a switch to control multiple receptacles. The source for the circuit is at the switch and the receptacle outlets are wired from one to the next in a parallel arrangement using pigtail splices to make the connections.