Replacing a Switch with a Switch and Receptacle Combination

Shortly after starting to use the kitchen full time, it became apparent that two outlets weren’t always sufficient – especially when they were both located on one side of the counter, and we try to keep an air purifier plugged in at all times to make me feel better about dust and my lungs.

The next time I had the washing machine pulled out, I added a short, three foot, bright orange extension cord to the outlet behind the machine and then draped the end of it up over the switchbox we use for the kitchen lights.

This worked, and worked well, but the aesthetics of it were less than desireable.  For the longest time I thought that perhaps I would change out the electrical box for a double gang box, and then put in a switch and receptacle.

Then it dawned on me that there were often combo switches, and a quick internet search revealed that they were indeed at Home Depot.  I was heading there ANYWAY to get some U channel for supporting my acrylic storm panes, so I added a combo switch to my list.

The next day, I tried to accomplish a few things to get out of my recent mental funk, and installing the switch seemed to be a good thing to fit the bill.

It was very uneventful. I shut off the power, pulled the old switch, scratched my head at the wiring inside to try to understand what I had done previously, realized that it wasn’t as challenging as it looked, and so hooked up the switch easily, and even better yet – it fit without having to REALLY cram the wire nuts and wiring and device itself into place.

You can still see the old extension cord present in this photo.
I put it back in place and waited for the fireworks that never came.  Donna mentioned that the switch felt funny.  I also am noticing that it will take a week or two before we are used to a side to side rocker in that location.

The outlet is handy, although it is too close to the switch for me to easily plug in our AA/AAA battery charger, which will have to continue to get plugged in behind the television or under the counter.  But I’m sure that the slow cooker and the panini press will be perfect for the new outlet – oh and the HEPA vacuum I use for cleaning out the stove!

Funny how little five minute projects like this often have huge benefits to life.

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