I have a hue light strip plugged into a hidden (in a cabinet) electrical outlet in my apartment. I had the electrician during our renovation install a blue series switch that I intended to bind to the hue light strip to control it. I specifically said that the switch should not be controlling the electrical outlet, because it wasn’t rated to do that. However, it seems he did this anyways and that turning on and off the blue 2-1 switch turns on and off the electrical outlet.
I figure I can just set the switch into “smart bulb” mode to leave it always on, but I’m worried that this isn’t safe. Should I have him come back to rewire this switch to be powered but not turn on and off the outlet? How big of a deal is this?
If the outlet is hidden in a cabinet, there’s probably little risk of someone later plugging a high-draw appliance into it, but I still abhor switch-controlled outlets as a general rule (although I realize they’re code necessary in certain situations). From that perspective, you’re probably fine using smart-bulb mode.
But rewiring the outlet to be constant hot (and making the Blue “no load”) should be very straightforward – it’d just be a few-minute job for any electrician.
I’m guessing your electrician simply wasn’t familiar with smart switches that have a no-load option, and (with the best of intentions) was trying to save you from yourself with your original request.
If it’s just controlling an LED strip, I wouldn’t be worried about the safety component of it. That will be a fairly small load. However the switch isn’t rated for it, so if ever there is some sort of an issue, it could cost you your insurance coverage.
It’s a fairly straight forward DIY for the fix. You’ll likely have to buy a new receptacle assuming only half the plug is switched and you’d need a wire nut or 2 and small piece of wire. May take 5-10 minutes to rewire. You may be able to get the electrician back in to do it if you tell him he wired it incorrectly and need it fixed. If he pushes back we could help you through it here.
Ignoring ratings and warnings for a minute, there should be nothing inherently dangerous about simply wiring a 2-1 to a receptacle. The electrons don’t know they’re going through a receptacle, they don’t care until they get to the load.
The issue is what would/could be plugged into that receptacle. If a Hue Light Strip is an acceptable load for a 2-1, then I don’t see an issue. That assumes that no one would ever use that receptacle for anything else, and that may be too large of an assumption. (Again, if it’s not clear, I know -and understand and agree with- what Inovelli is warning against here.)
OTOH, -as noted above- it would be trivial to wire the receptacle as always hot and add the 2-1 ‘to the side’ in smart bulb mode.
Another solution may be to install a simplex receptacle. That would stop someone from plugging an appliance into the other side of the receptacle, but wouldn’t stop them from unplugging the light strip and plugging something else in.
As others have mentioned, re-wiring is trivial. All that needs to be done is to turn off the breaker, pull the switch out of the box, remove the conductor connected to the Load terminal and place that conductor in the 2nd hole for the Line terminal. Then put the switch back and turn the breaker back on. That’s it . . .
Thank you all. I agree the electrician was likely just trying to be helpful and didn’t fully understand that I needed the outlet always on. He has to come back anyways, so I’ll see if I can convince him to do it for me. Given that I have no need to switch the receptacle, I think I’d rather be safe in case 5 years down the road someone is trying to plug in some high powered device and finds the outlet and thinks “great, a spare outlet I can use”…
This would still have the outlet wired to the switch and believe me an insurance company will jump on any technicality if there’s an issue.
Although I guess you could argue in court that it’s using the screw terminal on the switch as the wire nut and not running it through the switch… but I’d prefer to go on the safe side and use a wire nut and add that 3rd wire.