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Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 7250
Experience:  Proven Professional 48 years Experience
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I have a light that is controlled by two switches: one

Customer Question

I have a light that is controlled by two switches: one upstairs and one downstairs. The plate on the upstairs switch is a single switch. Can I change the single switch to a switch and plug combo?
When I opened the single switch, there are only 3 wires: 2 white and a blue (I'm not in the US)
The switch/plug combo I bought has two separate places to put wires, 2 behind the switch part and 3 behind the plug.
I was able to figure out how to place each wire for the plug to work, but the light no longer works, and for the plug to work, the switch downstairs (the other switch) has to be turned "on".
Can someone help me configure this so that the light works with either switch like it used to and the plug always "on"? Thanks!
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Hi, I'm Mike G and I'll be assisting you. Unfortunately you won't be able to pick up a seperate hot and neutral at that outlet. You have the same voltage as the USA and the configuration yougave doesn't allow for a switch over receptacle.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Can I change the upstairs switch to a double plug and just use the downstairs switch to control the light?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Yes but it will be very involved in reconfiguring the connections and you'll lose the function of the switch which you may regret. Might better to pick up the circuit for the outlet from another outlet on the other side of the wall or elsewhere. Better way together what you want.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
We only use the downstairs switch, so I really don't mind losing that switch. The only other connection is a double switch on the other side of the wall that controls 2 separate lights. The walls are concrete :( Is there anything I can do with those switches?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

I would need to know how they are wired. A picture would be helpful.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
great idea
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
another
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
this is the switch that I'm trying to change
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

You can pick up the circuit for the receptacle at the double switchbox. The blue that is common to both switches and the whites will give you 120V for the new outlet.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you very much. I'll give it a shot!
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Anytime, you're welcome.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sorry...there isn't a blue common to both switches :(. I did however find three white wires taped together not connected to anything else tucked behind the double switch.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

The blue jumper and the blue in the termination are the common wires. That is the hot feeding both switches.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I'm sorry I'm not that technical. Can you explain which is the blue jumper and which is the blue termination?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

The short wire between the switches is the jumper and the single wire next to one end of the jumper is the feed hot

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok got it. Thanks for that. Do I remove one of those from the double switch to feed it to the other side where I'll put the receptacle?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

I usually don't use pushback connections but in as much as you already have them in use, just push your wire into the hole next to the jumper. That will make a connection. Then connect your new white to the other whites. If there is a ground wire in the box use it.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Which wire? As it stands now, I have left my double switch as is and I have two white and one blue on the other side that are not connected at all to the double switch. Am I adding in a new wire?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

You need a hot and a neutral for the new receptacle. The new white connects to the whites in the box. The new blue is pushed into the back of the switch in a hole next to where the jumper is on that switch. It will look like the other switch where the jumper is on that one.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I'm sorry, can you be more specific. Where am I getting this "new white" and "new blue". Am I disconnecting anything from the double switch? Am I connecting this new white to the whites that are bundled and not connected to anything?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

The new wires are what will power the new receptacle circuit.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok, so I think I understand that I'm adding two brand new wires that are not currently in the configuration at all. You said the new white connects to the whites in the box. Which whites in which box? We are dealing with 2 boxes.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

I thought we were working with the double switch box as a source. If the second box was a receptacle, use that one. You'll have a hot and neutral.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Let's start over. I've taken out the switch that controls the light. I'd like to put in a switch/plug combo. If that's not possible, I have no problem putting in a double plug. Directly on the other side of the wall is a double switch. I just need you to tell me step by step what to do in order to either power the combo or the double plug.I understand that I put in a new wire next to the jumper of the double switch and feed it through the wall. This will be my live wire. Is this correct so far?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

That's correct. You'll need a neutral and that wire connected to the whites in the box behind the switches.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok, before we go any further, are we installing the combo or double plug?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Double receptacle. A plug is the end of a cord.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok, double receptacle. Thanks for the clarification. Will this neutral be connected at all to the double switch on the other side of the wall?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

No it only connects to the whites behind the switches.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
that's the part that confuses me. There are no whites behind the switches. Are you talking about the two white wires that are just now dangling that used to be connected to the switch that I took out?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
or are you talking about the three white wires that are twisted together that are not connected to anything except themselves?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Yes

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Excellent, thank you. ***** connect the neutral, the live wire, and now what do I do with the other two white wires and blue wire?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

You need to read my directions better. You connect the new white to the 3 whites. The new blue is only connected to the open hole next to the jumper on the one switch. 2 wires connected as stated, ran through the wall and connected to a double receptacle.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sorry, that's what I understand. I didn't write that well. I didn't mean that I connect them together. The question I have is now what do I do with the current wires that are shown in the last picture I sent?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

You leave them as is.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I had to go buy wire, sorry. I connected a white wire to the three other white wires and the double receptacle. I connected another wire from the empty hole next to the jumper of the switch to the side where it says "black wire" on the receptacle. The receptacle works. I haven't done anything with the two white and one blue wires. The only thing is now the downstairs switch doesn't turn on the light anymore. Originally the light had 2 switches, one upstairs and one downstairs. Will it be possible to control the light with just the one switch?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

We've come to the end. You were supposed to be the the box with the double switch and no white wires on the switches. The white wires were connected together and in the back of the box. I've made the instructions as simple as possible, over and over. At this point I'll opt out.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi Mike,I just connected one of the white wires with the blue wire, taped them together, taped the other white wire, and stuffed them behind my new double receptacle. Everything works exactly the way I wanted it to. I have a new receptacle, and my light is now controlled by the downstairs switch. I know you were at times frustrated with me, but I want you to know that I really appreciate your help. I learned a lot. Have a great day.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Glad it worked for you. You're welcome