Can X-10 switch control X-10 outlet directly?


Active Member
Aloha and howdy.

I'm looking to add an instant hot water dispenser to my kitchen sink. There is currently an outlet below my sink that my garbage disposel is plugged into. Both outlets under the sink are controlled with a switch.

My problem is that I need one outlet to always be on for the water heater and one to be controlled with a switch for the disposel.

Now I know there are outlets that have 1 always on and 1 X-10 controllable outlets, example.

What I need to know is if an X-10 switch set to the same house code as an X-10 outlet will cause the outlet to turn on and off with the switch.
if you mean if the outlet will turn off when the switch is pressed, only if it's a 2way switch I believe, if you mean both device will turn off when a 3rd device sends an OFF to that house/unit code, then both will turn off for sure, but I am hoping you aren't going to control your garbage disposal unit with X10, that's just asking for problems :(

Do you WANT automation involved at all? Having a regular (non automated) outlet with one socket always "on" and one socket switched is easy. The trick is to break (or disconnect) the jumpers on the two outlets. This was discussed on here about a month ago, but I could not find it with a quick search, it is called a split outlet.

In your case, the key fact is to determine if you have "always on" wiring at the outlet. If the only way to get power anywhere in that duplex box is to have the switch "on", then I think you will have to do some wiring modifications and/or additions.
You've got it right Wayne. The only line going to the outlet goes through the switch first. It'd be easy enough to rewire the wires in the box where the switch is to make the outlets always on and stick an X-10 switch in parallel with the outlet.

I was hoping to save myself the hassle of pulling a wire where this is located. It'll be a bitch of a pull with the counters and sink in the way.

I don't really want to contol this remotely or automate it in any way. I'm just trying to figure out a way to get the disposel controlled with a switch while the water heater is always on.

I've got 2 wall switches that for one reason or another defaulted back to the A1 house code (guessing brown out; utah power sucks a fat one) and they both turn on/off and dim together despite which one you're adjusting. They're both 2 way switches, like you were saying E.

Am I barking up the wrong tree with this? I'd hate to create a dangerous situation especially since disposels can be nasty little buggers.
I don't think it's a good idea to have a garbage disposal on an X10 controlled outlet. If your cleaning out the disposal and get noise on the line and it turns on :(

I'd wire the current switch to always on. Put a GFI in the current outlet under the sink OR remove the current switch and put the GFI there. Add a 2nd outlet that is switched with a new switch under the sink. I'm not sure what your local codes are but this will be safe since the new switch will be wired AFTER the GFI and if there was any current leak (thru your wet hand for example) the GFI would protect you against shock.

This is how I wired our new sink hot-water heater and it's worked great for over a year.

Micah said:
I've got 2 wall switches that for one reason or another defaulted back to the A1 house code (guessing brown out; utah power sucks a fat one)
Not trying to hijack the thread, but are those 2 switches SmartHome SwitchLincs? I have a few of the ApplianceLincs and LampLincs and noticed that they have a tendency to revert back to A1 after power failures or glitches. The advanced features are nice, but reprogramming them often is a pain. Nobody else seems to have this problem and I intend to swap them under warranty.
Bruce I think you're right. I'm gonna have to pull wire on this just to be safe. Should be an "interesting" experience to say the least.

Wayne, they are Smarthome togglelincs. I have another one that is a PLC togglelinc that didn't revert, but both of my 2 ways did. Is this something you're running into often? It's only happened to me once while I was away from my house and so I can only speculate on what actually caused the change.
Cut the existing wire under the sink... Attach the new wire to the existing wire and make sure that it will not come undone. Then pull the existing wire out of the wall while pulling the new wire into the wall. Should make things a little easier. Use electrical tape to join the two wires together. Electrical tape is strong, sticky and rubbery which allows you to turn the corners easily. When wraping the electrical tape around the two wires make a cone shape pointing in the direction you are pulling. This will help you from snaging anything while pulling the wire.

Good Luck!

BTW what are you using to get instant how water? I would love to add this feature to my bathroom sink and my kitchen sink.
Actually he would have to attach TWO black wires to the existing switched black wire from the sink outlet to the switch. Then he could tie one to the "switched" source and one to the "supply" source at the switch box. I'm not sure if he could get a "split" outlet though where he could then wire the switched wire on the top and the non-switched wire on the bottom of that outlet though. Anyone out there know this one? i.e. do they make a "dual" outlet where each of the sources are separate?

Another major problem that could be encountered here are the wires are probably "romex" and not individual runs.
Micah said:
Wayne, they are Smarthome togglelincs. I have another one that is a PLC togglelinc that didn't revert, but both of my 2 ways did. Is this something you're running into often? It's only happened to me once while I was away from my house and so I can only speculate on what actually caused the change.
Micah, it happens often enough that I will not deploy any more of them, especially in hard-to-access areas or for high power or critical loads. Living in Florida, we have quite a few lightning strikes and/or power surges. I am convinced it is somehow related to glitches, surges or outages. Often the units revert to an "on" condition, which could waste a lot of energy in a worst case scenario. Things changing while I am away from the house and HomeSeer no longer being in control is a pain. The units do not "lock up" or have to be rebooted, they simply fall back to the default A1 code. I press the program switch for 5 seconds, send the right code and all is well again for a while. It retains the default dim levels, so they are not going back to all the factory defaults, just changing address. I don't know why SmartHome and Martin have never heard of this issue. Bummer :(
BSR - most common electrical outlets have a small bar between the upper electrical connections. There is a bar on each side of the outlet, one hot and the other has neutral. You can break the bar on the hot side so you can then attach two seperate hots. One can be switched and the other always on. The neutrals you leave the bar intact.

I would take out the switch on wall and put a GFI in its place. Then add a switch box under the sink to put a switch in for the garbage disposal. Use the existing outlet under the sink and make the two outlets seperate by breaking the bar on the hot side. Then run a 2 wire romex to a new switch box under the sink at the front of the cabinet that you can get to with the cabinet door open. At the existing outlet under the sink - connect the black wire to the hot lead from the GFI. Connect the white wire to the "switched outlet hot". Put a piece of black tape around the switch white wire so as to mark it as a "hot wire". At the new switch location just connect the black to one terminal and the white to the other. Again put a piece of black tape around the white wire. Connect the ground wires on each end. Voila - oned switched garbage outlet and one always on outlet for the hot water heater.

You do have to open the door under the sink to turn on the switch but for me that makes it more safe - you can't accidentaly bump it to turn on.
Im sure your not thinking about replacing the garbage disposal but in my old apartment there was not switch. Well there was but not a wall switch. The way it worked is you had to put in the little Rubber stopper. The stoper would lock in and turn on the garbage disposal. I didnt like it because i couldnt run water down the drain while running the disposal but it is an option so i thought i would though it out. I wouldnt exspect you to buy a new disposal tho since they are alot of money
thanks for all the ideas guys.

I was thinking about tieing a new 4 wire molex to the 3 wire molex and pulling it through but the 3 wire is stapled at different points inside the wayll which makes it a no go.

I have another option though. I didn't think about it initially but my dishwasher is to the right of the sink/disposal and it's gotta get power from somewhere. When I get home (working in good ol' Columbus, Montana until Friday) I'm going to pull out my dishwasher and see if I tie a new outlet to that one.
It's been a while since I first posted this but I've finally finished adding the instant hot water heater and there's nothing I hate more than question threads without resolutions.

When I pulled my dishwasher out (3-4 months ago, haha) I found that instead of having a plug like most appliances there was just a 20 amp line that got wired directly to it. I cut the original wire, added a new single gang metal box and did a split from there.

One line went back to the dishwasher (which I ended up replacing since the original was a piece of junk and I had it out anyhow) and the other I fed through a hole in the cabinetry that seperated the dishwasher from under the sink.

Mounted another outlet under the sink, tied it off to the line coming from the dishwasher and voila! Hot chocolate with Irish cream at the turn of a knob.

Fast forward 3 months and I ended up getting the H-990 dispenser, in chrome, from Home Depot. I'm pretty happy with it so far. Installing it was a pain in the butt though as I had very little space under my sink and the heating unit for this model has to mounted on a wall...behind the food disposal of course.

Overall I'd say this project was a success. Thanks for all the help guys.