Reversed Dimmer and Outlet
Asked Apr 5, 2007, 11:52 AM
We just moved into a small, older (80 years?) apartment building and know very little about the wiring. I suspect some of it MIGHT be knob and tube, but I'm sure. Anyway, the light in the bathroom is on a dimmer that is on the wall outside the room. Inside the bathroom there is an outlet that is controlled by the dimmer switch which is no big deal, EXCEPT the outlet works in reverse to the overhead light. When the dimmer control (and the overhead light) is off, the outlet is receiving full power, and it drops as you turn up the dimmer until it is off when the light is on. Not great if my wife doesn't want to blow-dry her hair in the dark! I nosed around a bit in both the outlet and the switch and have found this: the box that the dimmer switch is in has one large, clothed-wrapped wire coming in the bottom and one coming in from the top. The dimmer has two wires coming from it and they are tethered to one of these wires each - which seems so far so good to me, this seems to be where the dimmer is interrupting the circuit to the light and controlling it. However, tethered in at these points are two wires which run to the outlet on the other side of the wall. So, in the box where the dimmer switch is we have two connection points, each with three wires in it. One has the wire coming up from below inside the wall, connected to one wire from the dimmer and another that runs off to the outlet. The other has the wire that also runs inside the wall but from above, the other wire in the dimmer and another wire that runs out to the outlet. At the outlet the two wires are attached where they would normally be (one black, one white). I suspect this is some sort of thing that a previous tenant rigged up, and I have tried switching the wires both at the outlet and at the dimmer, but it is still "reversed".
I hope I've made this sort of clear! Any help would be greatly appreciated, my first choice would be if the outlet was always on, but would be happy if it dimmed with the light!
Thanks so much!