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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    11

    Default Wiring a switch/outlet combo

    My wife's closet/dressing room has a switch/outlet combination unit on the wall. Today I decided to replace the current unit with a GFCI outlet/switch unit. Upon turning off the power and removing the old switch I became confused. There is only one standard 3 wire romex line running into the box. Looking at the picture of the old switch below, the white wire was connected to the top left terminal, the black wire was connected to the terminal directly below the white one, and the bare wire (ground) was connected to the terminal by itself at the bottom right. I'm really confused what the original electrician did here. I'm also including a picture of the back of the new switch, so if you can provide some suggestions on how to wire it I would be eternally grateful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: Wiring a switch/outlet combo

    resize your pictures or they will be deleted
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Wiring a switch/outlet combo

    I couldn't get the images to show up, but maybe that was because they were too big. Here are some that have been reduced in size.





    Also, here is a picture showing the wires in the box. As I mentioned, there' only one romex cable coming into the box and it has 3 wires (white, black, bare).


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,356

    Default Re: Wiring a switch/outlet combo

    It appears that the "electrician" (and I use that term loosely here) used the bare ground wire as the neutral in the circuit.

    There is no way to safely install an outlet in this box without running new wire.

    Based on the level of expertise demonstrated by your question, I can only recommend you call a licensed electrician.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,358

    Default Re: Wiring a switch/outlet combo

    Fence got this one right. You're lucky there wasn't a fire.

    Get a Pro in there to fix this.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    162

    Default Re: Wiring a switch/outlet combo

    Or simply eliminate the outlet. Just install a standard switch, which is what was intended here originally.
    HTH

    Dave

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    623

    Default Re: Wiring a switch/outlet combo

    All good answers, the light is fed power from the ceiling so you can't legally install a receptacle at the switch location, without running new wire.

    Also, a closet is really not a good place for a receptacle or appliances. Even the ceiling light should not have a "naked" incandesent lamp over or within 12" of a shelf.
    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, Hidden Content

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol, TN
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: Wiring a switch/outlet combo

    I had the same problem in my attic. I bought my house 7 years ago, it was built in the late 1940's. Once I took out the old combo switch, nothing else seemed to work right. I finally ended up putting in 2 units. 1 switch and 1 outlet. I never figured out why the new switch would not work, but this was my solution. I hope this helps.

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