Outlet Switch Wiring Diagrams

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–Check local regulations for restrictions and permit requirements before beginning electrical work–

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.

Switch Loop to a Receptacle Outlet

wiring a switch and plug

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.

Switch First

wiring electrical plug and switch

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

old wiring for 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.

wiring a split plug to a switch

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

switch and 2 receptacles

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.