Adding an outlet to existing light/fan switch

Ask your electrical related questions here
Post Reply
theblackscorpion1961
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:11 am

Adding an outlet to existing light/fan switch

Post by theblackscorpion1961 » Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:40 am

I have a single pole 15A light switch that is being powered by a close by outlet. That switch is also powering another outlet or light switch to another room, plus turning on the light and fan attached to it. I added an outlet and connected all the wires. All 4 neutrals on a wire connector. Wrapped the new ground wire around the other three ground wires. Then 3 black wires on a connector plus the pigtail powering the light switch the other black is going to the light. Turned power back on and it automatically tripped.
I undid all and redid how they were minus the wire nuts I used the wire connectors. I asked the guy at Lowe’s that does the electrical section and asked me if the circuit breaker tripped quickly, I said yes. He said the ground wire was touching others. Is he right, should I go back and retry. I put everything back the way it was, minus the wire nuts.
Did I connect them wrong or is there too much power going to the light switch that I need to replace with a double pole switch or a 20A light switch? I've added all the pix I have, plus trying to show what I want done. Thnx for helping me out
Attachments
WP_20181108_02_45_07_Pro.jpg
WP_20181108_02_45_07_Pro.jpg (30.54 KiB) Viewed 129 times
WP_20181027_11_12_52_Pro.jpg
WP_20181027_11_12_52_Pro.jpg (39.51 KiB) Viewed 129 times
WP_20181027_11_12_46_Pro.jpg
WP_20181027_11_12_46_Pro.jpg (41.67 KiB) Viewed 129 times
WP_20181027_11_04_08_Pro.jpg
WP_20181027_11_04_08_Pro.jpg (31.53 KiB) Viewed 129 times
WP_20181027_10_35_18_Pro.jpg
WP_20181027_10_35_18_Pro.jpg (36.3 KiB) Viewed 129 times

User avatar
Aaron
Posts: 3196
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:03 pm
Location: St. Paul, MN

Re: Adding an outlet to existing light/fan switch

Post by Aaron » Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:58 am

Sorry but it's unclear to me what you have, and what you want. What was the original way you had it when everything worked? What are you adding? I can't tell from the pics what is new and what is old.

It would help if you draw out what you had and what you want, as well as close-ups of your wiring.

I'm thinking there is just some error in your connections.

User avatar
Aaron
Posts: 3196
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:03 pm
Location: St. Paul, MN

Re: Adding an outlet to existing light/fan switch

Post by Aaron » Tue Dec 25, 2018 12:11 pm

Okay I got it, you're adding that receptacle above the switch.

Do you know whether the box you're tapping from just below it (the switch box) has a constant source of power?

You will need to test for that. Switch boxes don't often have a neutral; instead the white wire is used to loop power back to a light box.

User avatar
A. Spruce
Posts: 5708
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2016 5:23 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: Adding an outlet to existing light/fan switch

Post by A. Spruce » Tue Dec 25, 2018 12:58 pm

It sounds to me that the power originates in the first outlet, then is run as a switch leg to the first switch, then somebody tapped that switch for the downstream devices, which means the downstream devices only have power when the first switch is on. A switch leg is not a complete circuit, it is only the hot side.

To make what you describe work, you have to get the power to BOTH switches, then the switches can control the downstream devices individually. What this means is that the initial switched plug that is feeding the first switch will have to be wired permanently hot so that the "switch leg" can become a live line for the first switch, pigtailed to the second switch, then the downstream devices can be controlled by switch legs from the switches.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

User avatar
Shannon
Posts: 12507
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:58 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Adding an outlet to existing light/fan switch

Post by Shannon » Tue Dec 25, 2018 1:47 pm

If all you were doing is adding that plug up top and if the wiring at the switch in the pictures was pictured as original, it looks to me like adding the new black to the black /white pig tail on bottom of the switch and the new white to the white pig tail should do it. Oh and of course adding the ground to all the grounds. Be sure no copper on the white or black pigtails is exposed or touching grounds or any other metal . You should also have a max. of 1/4" of outer NMD jacket exposed in the box.
If you've found our videos or website information helpful, please considering making a donation using PayPal or pledging us on Patreon

Post Reply