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Wiring A Light Switch And Outlet On Same Circuit


Have you recently moved into a new home in the beautiful zip code of 02906 in East Providence, Rhode Island? Or perhaps you’ve been residing in this charming city for a while and are looking to make some electrical upgrades in your home. As licensed electricians with over 17 years of experience serving the residents of Cranston, Warwick and all of Rhode Island, B&K Electric has seen firsthand the importance of understanding and maintaining your home’s electrical systems.

Whether you’re a new homeowner or a long-time resident, understanding and properly wiring a light switch and outlet on the same circuit is essential for your safety and the functionality of your home. In this article, we will be providing a comprehensive guide for homeowners in East Providence, Rhode Island on how to correctly wire a light switch and outlet on the same circuit. But first, let us introduce ourselves.

B&K Electric is a family-owned and operated electrical business based in Warwick, RI, that is deeply rooted in community and dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Our team of skilled electricians specializes in electrical repair, panel maintenance, and installation, making us the go-to experts for all your electrical needs in the Warwick area and the greater Providence Area.

Now, let’s begin with the basics.

Understanding Circuits and Wiring

Before we dive into the wiring process, it’s necessary to understand what a circuit is and how it works. A circuit is a closed loop through which electricity flows from a power source to an output device and back to the power source. An electrical circuit has three basic elements: a load (such as a light or an appliance), a power source (such as an outlet or a switch), and a conductive path (such as wires) connecting the two. In a standard household wiring, the electricity travels from the main electrical panel to the different circuits in your home, providing power to the outlets, lights, and appliances.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the main components involved in wiring a light switch and outlet on the same circuit.

Light Switch

A light switch is a basic electrical device that allows you to control the flow of electricity to a light or an appliance. It is typically mounted on the wall and has two terminals, a connection to the incoming hot wire, and a connection to the outgoing switched wire. Light switches come in different types such as single-pole, three-way, and four-way, depending on how many switches control the same light.


An outlet, also known as a receptacle, is a point in the wiring system where appliances can be plugged in to receive electrical power. It has two terminals, one for the hot wire and one for the neutral wire. Outlets come in different types such as standard outlets, ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), and arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs).


Wires are the conductive paths that connect the different components of a circuit. They are typically made of copper and come in different gauges and colors, indicating their purpose. The black wire is the hot wire, carrying the electricity from the main panel to the outlet or switch. The white wire is the neutral wire, returning the electricity back to the main panel. The green or bare copper wire is the ground wire, providing an alternative path for the electricity in case of a fault or short circuit.

Now that we have a good understanding of the basic components involved, let’s move on to the steps for wiring a light switch and outlet on the same circuit.

Step 1: Plan Your Wiring Layout

Before you start any electrical project, it’s crucial to have a thorough plan in place. Begin by identifying the locations of the light switch and outlet in your home. Measure the distance between them and determine the power source for the circuit, which could be an existing outlet or the main electrical panel. Plan your wiring layout accordingly, keeping in mind the necessary safety precautions, spacing requirements, and local building codes.

Step 2: Turn Off the Power

Before you begin any electrical work, always turn off the power from the main electrical panel to the specific circuit you’ll be working on. To ensure your safety, use a voltage tester to confirm that there is no current running through the wires.

Step 3: Run the Cables

With the power turned off, you can now run the cables between the power source, the light switch, and the outlet. The most common type of cable used for residential wiring is the Non-Metallic (NM) cable, which contains three or four wires, depending on the circuit’s requirements. Run your cable through the designated route, making sure to leave enough slack at each end.

Step 4: Wire the Light Switch

Begin by wiring the light switch first. Strip the insulation off the ends of the black and white wires, and connect the black wire to the dark screw terminal, also known as the hot terminal. Next, connect the white wire to the light switch’s light-colored screw terminal, also known as the neutral terminal. If the switch has a grounding screw, connect the bare copper wire to it. Secure the wires with wire nuts and ensure that the switch is properly attached to the electrical box.

Step 5: Wire the Outlet

Strip the insulation off the ends of the white, black, and bare copper wires, and connect the white wire to the silver-colored screw terminal on the outlet. Connect the black wire to the brass-colored screw terminal, and the bare copper wire to the green screw terminal, also known as the ground terminal. As with the switch, ensure that the outlet is securely attached to the electrical box.

Step 6: Test the Wiring

Before turning the power back on, it’s essential to test the wiring to make sure everything is correctly connected. Using a voltage tester, check for the presence of voltage at the different connection points. If there is no voltage, you can move on to the next step. If there is, double-check your connections and fix any issues before proceeding.

Step 7: Turn the Power Back On

Once you’ve confirmed that everything is wired correctly, you can turn the power back on from the main electrical panel. Test each component, starting with the light switch, then the outlet, to ensure proper function.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully wired a light switch and outlet on the same circuit! Remember to always follow safety precautions and consult a licensed electrician for any complex electrical work.



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