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Old 01-17-2009, 07:52 PM   #1
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Light Fixture


if i turn the light switch off in my room, is it safe to install a new light fixture in that room , i mean, do i really have to cut the power to the whole house when i can just flip the switch to "off" and change the ceiling fixture?


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Old 01-17-2009, 08:03 PM   #2
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You need to kill the power to the circut you are working on because anything else on the circut is dumping current on the neutral, and thats how people die. You dont need to kill the whole house just the breaker that supplies the light.

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Old 01-17-2009, 08:07 PM   #3
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Light Fixture


so just flipping off the light switch isn't enough. i have to kill the power to the whole room?
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:23 PM   #4
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Whatever is on the circut that feeds that lights or you could get yourself some line gloves and work with those, but its easier to kill the power.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:32 PM   #5
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The problem is two fold:
First, you don't know that the person who wired the light put the switch on the hot leg.
Second, many times the outlet box for the light is a junction to other parts of the circuit, and as ctsmiths said, you can have current flowing through the neutral, and when you break that connection, you could put yourself right in the path of current and be electrocuted. You don't need a "hot" wire to get shocked. A broken neutral becomes a hot when you put yourself in the circuit.

When I work on a fixture and have to cut power to the room, I bring in a work light plugged into another circuit. I also use a (battery powered) head lamp to provide spot light.
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