With some basic tools, you can easily connect a power outlet to a light switch by following the steps below. You'll also learn what to look for when shopping for switches and receptacles.


Step 1

Go to the service panel and turn off power to the circuit you will be working on. Go to the electrical box where you will be installing the switch and check the incoming cable with your voltage tester.

Step 2

There are two screws on a single-pole light switch, and it doesn't matter which wire is connected to which screw. Use your pliers and screwdriver to connect the hot black wire from the service panel to the top screw, and the black wire from the outlet to the bottom screw. Remember, up is "on" and down is "off."

Step 3

Use your pliers to splice the white wire from the service panel to the white wire from the outlet. Cut a small piece of bare wire and attach it to the green ground screw on the switch. Splice the other end with the ground wires from the service panel and the outlet. Screw insulated wire connectors onto the two spliced connections--there should be no exposed bare wire--and push the wires into the box. The ground wires go first, followed by the neutral white wires and the black wires last. Use the included screws to fasten the switch to the wall box.

Step 4

A duplex outlet receptacle will have two gold or brass screws on the hot side and two silver screws on the neutral side, along with a green screw for the ground. On the hot side, there is a tab that connects the two screws. Break this tab if you want only one outlet to be switched and the other to stay permanently hot.

Step 5

Use your pliers and screwdriver to connect the black wire to a gold screw, the white wire to a silver screw and the bare ground to the green screw. Push the wires into the box and fasten the outlet to the box with the grounding pin on top. If the outlet is horizontal, the wide neutral slot should be on top. This will help prevent a short from occurring if some metal object should happen to fall on a plug and push it partly out of the outlet.