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Blank Cover

September 23rd, 2013

How do I change a wall outlet to be live all the time when the bottom half is controlled by a light switch?

I have 3 wall outlets in the living room and dining room that the top half is live and the bottom half only turns on with a light switch. I want the top and bottom to be live all the time. How do I accomplish this?

Turn off the power to the circuit that outlet is on.

Remove the outlet - you will see a separate wire going to the switched half (be sure you know which half is switched before doing this). There will be a bridge between the top and bottom half of the outlet that will have been broken out by the electriciain who installed the outlet (thereby allowing one half to be powered all the time and the other half to be switched).

Either bridge the two halves with a separate, short length of wire, or buy a new outlet that has the separation bridge intact. Reconnect the wires as they were (black goes to the side of the outlet with the narrower blade (in the US at least)), and tape the switched wire, or put a spare conical wire nut on the end after you trim it, or both so that it doesn't contact anything inside the box.

Also, if the switch will no longer be used, you might want to remove it as well and put a blank cover plate on it, or remove it completely and plaster over the hole.

Last, if you are uncertain about the existing wiring, or of your connections, you can buy a cheap plug-in LED outlet tester at a hardware store that will indicate if the outlet is wired properly.

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