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What is a Split Outlet?

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Split Outlet Photo

Split Outlet Photo

Timothy Thiele

When you think of outlets in the home, you normally think of an outlet that is hot all of the time. You simply plug something into it and the device or appliance works. But what if you want to control the outlet from somewhere in the room? Is there a way to do that? After all, walking across a dark room to plug in a light isn't the handiest lighting solution. Even worse, if you're like me, you end up stubbing your toe and end up hopping to the fixture. Adding a switch to control part or all of an outlet can cure this problem. By using a split outlet, you'll be able to light the room and save on medical bills.

A split outlet isn't anything special really. It's just a regular outlet with a couple of modifications. By breaking the tab joining the two hot terminals of the outlet (brass-colored screws), you'll have created two separately controlled outlets. You see, each duplex receptacle has two places to plug in to. When you wire the outlet, one part to a hot wire and the other part to a switch leg, the outlet is then a split outlet.

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