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Old 08-04-2009, 11:33 PM   #1
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blue color inside of wall switch


So we changed all of our wall switches to update to a white color. My wife noticed tonight that if she turned on/off a light quickly enough she could see a blue colored sparkish thing inside the small area around the switch. When I changed all the switches I just reattached them directly the same way they were previously connected. I did the same for the outlets and they all test out fine with that little plug in device.

What is going on and should I be concerned?

Thanks.
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Old 08-05-2009, 03:41 AM   #2
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blue color inside of wall switch


Perfectly normal.
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Old 08-05-2009, 05:33 PM   #3
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blue color inside of wall switch


Try unplugging a toaster or vacuum cleaner while it is running.

You will see similar sparks in the receptacle when you do so.

What you are witnessing is the electrical arc that is created when disconnecting power under load.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:32 PM   #4
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blue color inside of wall switch


The reason they tell you not to flip a light switch if you smell gas is because of the spark your wife saw when you flipped the switch. The ever so brief flash will make a big kaboom if gas is present.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:19 PM   #5
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blue color inside of wall switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigplanz View Post
The reason they tell you not to flip a light switch if you smell gas is because of the spark your wife saw when you flipped the switch. The ever so brief flash will make a big kaboom if gas is present.
The kaboom will only happen if the gas concentration is between the lower explosive and upper explosive limits.
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Old 08-05-2009, 09:53 PM   #6
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blue color inside of wall switch


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Originally Posted by Bigplanz View Post
The reason they tell you not to flip a light switch if you smell gas is because of the spark your wife saw when you flipped the switch. The ever so brief flash will make a big kaboom if gas is present.
In this case the sparking (arcing, really) was the result of a normal action. But when there's continuous arcing across two points due to a break in a wire or terminal, it could ignite a fire even without the presence of gas. The early AFCIs did not react to an arc fault on a Neutral conductor. Thankfully, we have Combination AFCIs today.
p.s.: The above Mini-lecture was not meant for BigPlanz, who knows all of this stuff better than I do. But was a recounting of personal experience.
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