Dear Mr. Electrician: How do I convert switched outlet to hot at all times?
Answer: Usually a few simple wiring connection changes at the outlet box are what is needed to convert switched outlet to hot all of the time. However, the easiest thing for a novice to do is just disconnect the wall switch and join the two wires from the switch together with a wire connector. You can then install a blank wall plate to cover the unused switch box. NOTE: Some text links below go to applicable products on EBay.
Photos below are of a job that I did for a client where I installed two wall switches and a ceiling fan using the existing outlet switch location. As part of the task it was necessary to change a switched outlet to hot so that I could supply power to the new fan.
In the photo at the top of this post you can see that the switch box did not have a neutral conductor in it. The white wire on the switch was being used as the hot wire and the black went to the split switched outlet pictured below.
According to the National Electrical Code a white wire being used as a hot must be changed to a different color. It is not unusual to see the white wire being used as the hot conductor on a switch, but it still must be re-identified with a different color.
If you are working on a white wire that is hot, take the time to re-identify it with another color electrical tape. Do not use green or gray. You can also use a permanent marker to colorize the wire.
The switch conversion job depicted below was done using plastic electrical boxes. If you are more interested in converting a one gang metal electrical box to two gang or more, visit this post of mine.
I submitted the electrical permit application for the job below a few weeks prior to starting the work. The inspector did not require a rough inspection because it was a small job. I only needed an inspection from the town electrical inspector after the work was completed.
In my permit application I included a one page typewritten detailed scope of work describing what I would be doing. It helps the inspector have a better understanding of what's going on.
CONVERT SWITCHED OUTLET TO HOT
First thing is to shut off the power at the circuit breaker. Test the wires with a volt meter, pigtail light bulb, or a non-contact voltage detector to make sure that they are dead. Next disconnect the existing switch and tape the ends of the wire separately. Do not connect the switch wires together.
Go to the outlet and remove the white wire from the group of hot wires. Connect that white wire to the other white neutral wires in the box. You can do this directly on the outlet or by splicing them all together and adding pigtails.
Push a small nail, paperclip, or tiny screwdriver into the slots on...
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