How to Install a Split Receptacle
Gain control over your electrical switches with a split receptacle. Every bedroom and kitchen should have one.
Have you ever wondered how your bedside lamp can be turned on and off by the switch at the door, but the alarm clock plugged into the same outlet remains on at all times? The seemingly complicated electrical work is all made possible by a split receptacle. And while it may sound like a job for a professional, installing a split receptacle is quite manageable for someone with minimal electrical work experience.
Code may require that adjacent receptacles be on different circuits. You can split receptacles to achieve the same effect. Run three-wire cable from the service panel to the boxes for the two circuits. Codes may call for connecting both circuits to a double-pole breaker. That way an overload on one circuit shuts off both, deadening all wires in each box.
When wiring a series of split-circuit receptacles, connect one outlet of each receptacle to the red wire and the other to the black wire. Be sure to break off the brass connecting tabs.
In the steps below, we show you how to do this job safely and effectively. Follow along to check this task off your weekend to-do list.