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Wiring a Switch Outlet Combo Circuit

How to Wire a Switch Outlet Combo with Power Constantly Supplied to the Outlet

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: I have a switch outlet combo circuit that I am trying to wire. More specifically, I am trying to wire the switch outlet combo circuit so that the switch controls an overhead light and the outlet is powered on at all times. The switch outlet has two black screws, one silver screw, one brass screw, and one green screw attached to it. The instructions in the switch outlet combo package are inadequate and I have been trying for days to figure out how to wire this circuit. Can you offer any help?


Answer: I agree with you, the information provided with most switch/outlet combo circuits is brief at best. 
Described below are the steps for wiring a switch outlet combo circuit, such that an overhead light is controlled by the switch, and the outlet is always powered.
Warning: Before wiring a switch outlet combo circuit, make sure you first turn power off to the electrical box at the main circuit breaker panel. In addition, make sure to test and verify that the switch/outlet electrical box is indeed powered off before wiring the switch outlet combo circuit. You can use a simple circuit tester to do this.


First, to power the outlet at all times you need to break the tab that connects the two black screws together.
Then feed power (black wire from the Line Romex cable) into the brass screw that is next to the switch.
In addition, also feed power to the black screw that sits adjacent to the outlet. You might want to create a pigtail from the original power feed to connect to this black screw.

Next, the black screw that sits across from the brass screw, and near the switch, is the line feed terminal to the light. Connect the black wire from the Romex cable associated with the light circuit to this black screw.
Now, tie/twist all of the white wires together with the addition of a pig tail that is approximately 5" in length. Use a wire nut to tie them all together. You will probably need a large wire nut to do this.


Switch outlet combo with brass and silver screws shown.

Switch outlet combo with ground and terminal screws shown.

Photos by Mark Donovan

Next, attach the white wire pigtail to the silver screw. This is basically tying all of the returns together and connecting them to the silver screw, which is the return screw.
Finally, twist all of the grounds (bare copper wires) together using a greeny wire nut. Note that one of the wires should poke out the end of the greeny. Take this one wire and attach it to the green screw on the switch/outlet combo.
Attach the wired switch outlet combo circuit to the electrical box, put the face plate cover on, and turn power back on at the main circuit breaker panel.
That should do it. You’re switch outlet combo circuit should be able to control the overhead light, and the outlet should always have power to it.


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- Wiring a Switch Outlet Combo Circuit -

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