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Kevin
Kevin, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  15 yrs field experience with 11 yrs as self-employed contractor specializing in home repair\upgrades
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Hi I have a small closet that has i normal light socket with

Customer Question

Hi I have a small closet that has i normal light socket with a switch at the doorway. Now there is also a receptacle outlet below the switch that is fed by the wiring from the switch box. Now heres my problem... the outlet will only work if I screw a lightbulb into the light socket/fixture. If I unscrew the bulb it cuts power to the outlet below? why, please advise.. as I need a resolution asap please
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 4 years ago.

Kevin :

Hi, and welcome to JA!!

Kevin :

With the switch off, I will need you to remove the switch from the wall, but leave it connected to the wiring. I need you to describe how many wires of each color are in the box, and which ones are connected to the switch itself

JACUSTOMER-f3m512ug- :

Im not right in front of the switch, It is located at another building I attend to. It will take me about 1.5 hours to get there. is there any way we can do this over the phone? While im at the switch?

Kevin :

unfortunately, we are not allowed to contact customers via phone

JACUSTOMER-f3m512ug- :

Ok This building has really old wiring and sometimes cant tell the color of the wiring .. some of it all looks black.. But what would make the outlet cut power if I take out the bulb? Is it acting as a "link " to complete the circut that powering the outlet?

Kevin :

I would say the outlet was added after the initial wiring was done, and connected to the wrong wires

Kevin :

When you open the switch box, you will probably find 2 older wires coming from the top, with two newer wires going out the bottom to the outlet

JACUSTOMER-f3m512ug- :

I think the switch has two hot black wires and no neutral white one..

Kevin :

There will be white wires in the box, although you may not be able to tell that they are white, ot they may be folded up in the box, not connected to the switch

Kevin :

I would look at the wiring on the outlet to see if it is different than the other wiring first

Kevin :

Then, try to determine where that wire goes. Wherever it goes to, it has been connected improperly

JACUSTOMER-f3m512ug- :

I connected the white wire from the outlet to the wire I thought was the white neutral and switched on the breaker. Everything seemed fine but the outlet didnt have any power. Then ramdomly I screwed a light bulb in the socket and saw the powerstrip light come on plugged into the outlet..

Kevin :

Let me see if I understand...

Kevin :

When you opened the switch, there were only 2 wires, with an additional 2 that you think go to the outlet?

Kevin :

in other words, 2 from the top and 2 from the bottom

JACUSTOMER-f3m512ug- :

Yes with another black wire running straight threw the box.. in the top and down threw the bottom

Kevin :

Is there any way you could send a picture of the wiring in the switch box?

Kevin :

right below this window is a paperclip icon that allows you to send files

JACUSTOMER-f3m512ug- :

I could but I have to get there first. How do we do that?

JACUSTOMER-f3m512ug- :

it would have to be later, it takes time to get there

Kevin :

take a picture with a camera or phone, the put it on your computer and upload it with the paperclip icon below or chat window

Kevin :

without seeing it, I believe that you connected the white wire to the wrong place

Kevin :

If you can send me a picture later, I will take a look

JACUSTOMER-f3m512ug- :

how do we continue this chat later?

Kevin :

come back to the website. At the top, you will see "my questions"

Kevin :

click on that, then click on this question on the screen that comes up

Kevin :

Please let me know if I can assist you further