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Thread: replacing switch that controls outlet

  1. #1
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    Default replacing switch that controls outlet

    My house is about a year old and something that always boggled my mind is that there's no light in the master bedroom, the bonus room, or the great room. (I'm not the person that had the house built) There's no fixtures in the roof so it doesn't look like it's prewired to be able to put in lighting. There also is switches in those rooms that control an outlet, we currently plug lamps into those outlets.

    Why do they put in a switch that control the outlet instead of actually puting in a light? Is it to save money on the buyer's part?

    Anyone know a good electrician that can put in recessed lighting imto a finished roof and have the switch control the lights instead of the outlet?
    Last edited by JC522; 07-25-2009 at 12:43 PM.

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    Wow... who built this home?

    I have only ever come across this setup once, and it was in an apartment building down in the Beltline... and it was the dumbest setup I have ever seen.

    I am surprised that your house has this... I am going to assume that you are not the original owner, or designed this house from scratch... lol.

    Anyways... it can be changed. An electrician can go up into the attic and mount junction boxes for ceiling mounted light fixtures, drop wire down to the switches and disengage the electrical outlet from the switches.

    Recessed lighting can be done too... same process, just a little different in the finished product.

    Not sure what the costs will be... but use a qualified electrician with some experience to get it done right with little to no invasive damage to your walls.

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    I've seen lots of houses with this...I gues some designers must think that people LOVE lamps.

    masoncgy's suggestion is a good one, and the cost and mess shouldn't be bad.

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    the builder is broadview and no I'm not the person that designed the house. The only problem with your suggestion though is that the attic is only above the back of the house where the bedrooms are so that could work for my master bedroom but the great room is on the main level and the bonus room has a vaulted ceiling

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    Remember that that switch has a dedicated line going to one half or all of that plug.

    If you change the lighting set-up you may have to have them fix the switch for you as well.
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    Originally posted by JC522
    the builder is broadview and no I'm not the person that designed the house. The only problem with your suggestion though is that the attic is only above the back of the house where the bedrooms are so that could work for my master bedroom but the great room is on the main level and the bonus room has a vaulted ceiling
    Good to know.

    Unfortunately, this means that your great room & bonus room ceilings & walls are going to have to undergo a major teardown and rebuild to install the ceiling mounted lighting.

    It still can be done, and the results will be exactly what you are hoping for, just the process will be invasive and the costs will be higher.

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    Originally posted by atgilchrist
    I've seen lots of houses with this...I gues some designers must think that people LOVE lamps.
    I'm one of them.

    Nothing I hate more than a ceiling lamp in a bedroom. I'd rather have a switch that will control bedside table lamps, rather then a ceiling one (though two switches would be ideal, one for a ceiling light, and one for bedside lamps)
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    Originally posted by Nufy
    Remember that that switch has a dedicated line going to one half or all of that plug.

    If you change the lighting set-up you may have to have them fix the switch for you as well.
    Easy enough to do. The outlet will typically be 'half switched' for usability purposes, meaning the switch only controls the top or the bottom of the outlet, but not both. It is actually as simple as installing a new outlet without snipping the metal tab in between the two receptables. This results in the main power supply (non-switchable) feeding both halves and overrides the switch.

    Making it functionable with the switch again is as simple as snipping the metal tab.

  9. #9
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    Yep..

    Replace the plug will be the easiest way.

    Marette or remove the supply wire form the switch on both ends (push it out of the box if you can) and its gone forever.

    That way you don't have a live wire in your switch box.
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    Originally posted by Nufy
    Yep..

    Replace the plug will be the easiest way.

    Marette or remove the supply wire form the switch on both ends (push it out of the box if you can) and its gone forever.

    That way you don't have a live wire in your switch box.

    Never EVER push wires back into the wall, there is a procedure for abandoning wiring in walls, and that isn't it. The supply wire will be part of 3-wire loomex, you can't just push 1 wire back out.


    The correct procedure is to mount an octagon box securely in the ceiling of your master bedroom and run a line down from it to the plug. First you must check that there are no more than 11 outlets on the existing circuit (yes, lights count as outlets), if you have only 11 you can add 1 more and still be fine. In the plug box you can then connect to the switched power wire for the plug and the neutral in the plug box (and, of course, ground). Next, replace the plug with one that does not have the metal tab removed, or alternatively you can take the wire off the other side, get a few inches of spare wire and split it to feed both halves of the plug. The master bedroom will be easy to do if all you want is a light. If you want to add potlights or other recessed lighting you will likely be loading the circuit beyond its capacity and significantly more work will be involved.


    As for the other rooms in your house, the procedure is similar however the drywall on the ceiling will need to be removed (and possibly replaced, depending on how it comes down) and you will have to re-surface your ceiling if it is a spray-on surface. Probably not worth the trouble.
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