Mat and Suzy:
MA> My new-to-me 1984 house seems to have very few switched sockets for use wit
MA> free-standing lamps (as an alternative to the recessed fittings that the
MA> previous owner had a passion for). All of them appear to be on permanently
MA> top and bottom socket.
So far, "normal". BTW, the "socket" is usually called a "duplex
outlet" or just plain "outlet".
MA> However.... today I was switching out a dimmer and a couple of sockets, and
MA> noticed that there are two hot wires at each socket in the room in question
MA> The copper tabs on the sockets were in tact. So this is how my reasoning
The two hot wires (presumably black - would have been nicer if one
was red or blue for troubleshooting/verification) may be a
'continuation': black feed (from source) comes in and attaches to the
top outlet, bottom outlet also has a black which continues on to the
next outlet in the chain. Whites follow same pattern.
MA> 1 the second wire indicates that the wiring is probably already in place t
MA> support a switched approach
MA> 2 the fact that the tabs were not broken and both hot wires were attached
MA> to the socket, must mean that the other end of the switched wire is not
MA> connected (otherwise the light would be on permanently)
Or else you have a switch which doesn't do anything.
MA> 3 I then looked in the light switch box and found several black wires
MA> joined in a nut to permanent live. I concluded therefore that they were se
MA> up like that because the original owners did not want them switched, but if
MA> I wanted them thus, I could disconnect from this nut and reconnect to the
MA> switched wire.
MA> So experts, how am I doing so far?
I'm following your logic anyway. :)
MA> In fact, the room I was looking at does not really need any switched
MA> sockets, but I was interested because the same logic might apply to the
MA> problem rooms.
MA> Does this make any sense? And for a house of this era, would it be likely
MA> that the wires to allow switched operation should be in place to allow me
MA> like me to use them with a few adjustments to connections either end?
I wouldn't necessarily go with the assumption this was the way wiring
was done c. 1984. Could have been a specification of whomever the
house was built, or the way that particular construction company,
architect, or electrican did things. Any neighbours with the same
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