Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-01-2009, 10:34 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 248
Share |
Default

Light switch shock


Had a switch out the other day, accidentally touched on one of terminal screws and got a bit of a shock.

I assume this isn't normal. What causes this, improper ground?

burnt03 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2009, 10:39 PM   #2
Registered User
 
Termite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,520
Default

Light switch shock


Are you serious? You touched one of the switch terminal screws and got shocked? That's totally normal. You can't touch those. Just count yourself as lucky that you didn't make a good path to ground and get killed. Before removing any device you must always make sure that the power has been disconnected at the breaker or fuse.

Termite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2009, 10:41 PM   #3
Registered User
 
Termite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,520
Default

Light switch shock


As for grounding, if your switch is in a metal box in a relatively modern system the box is grounded and the switch is therefore grounded by its connection to the box. If the box is plastic you should have the switch grounded to the grounding conductor (via the green metal screw on the switch and a wire pigtail).
Termite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2009, 10:47 PM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South of Boston, MA
Posts: 17,248
Default

Light switch shock


Yup as KC said...one side has hot feed in - unless you shut the breaker off its hot
When you flip the switch that completes the connection & the other terminal is now hot & the light goes on

You got lucky
Scuba_Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2009, 11:00 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 248
Default

Light switch shock


What can I say, I'm completely clueless when it comes to this stuff. Just got into our first house and all of a sudden it's not the landlord responsible for fixing things

Thanks for the replies and not just ridiculing me right off the site.

While on the topic, have a bathroom fan off of a timer (like the heat bulbs in hotel rooms) that I want to change to a normal switch. Got a switch but it has 3 terminal screws on it instead of the 2 on the timer.

I guess this is because the new switch is two way? Would you connect one wire to the "common" screw, one wire to one of the others and leave the other one?

Thanks again
burnt03 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2009, 11:08 PM   #6
Registered User
 
Termite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,520
Default

Light switch shock


I'd have serious concerns about putting a heat lamp fixture on anything but a timer type switch. Overheating could be a major concern here if the fixture is left on.

(this is a DIY site and everybody has varying levels of experience...We don't ridicule people unless they are insistent on hurting themselves or doing things completely wrong/unsafe! Welcome!!!)
Termite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2009, 11:15 PM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,794
Default

Light switch shock


Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
I'd have serious concerns about putting a heat lamp fixture on anything but a timer type switch. Overheating could be a major concern here if the fixture is left on.
Agreed - it's on a timer for a reason.
vsheetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2009, 11:15 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,794
Default

Light switch shock


Help us to understand.
Why do you want to change out the timer for a switch?
vsheetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2009, 11:22 PM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 248
Default

Light switch shock


I'm sorry I wasn't clearer.

It's not a heat lamp that's controlled by the timer, it's a bathroom fan. I just mentioned the heat lamp because I've only ever seen timers installed in hotel rooms and I wasn't sure you'd know what I was talking about, just using it as an example.

I'd like to change the timer out with a regular switch because that's what we had at our old place and we (ie. my wife) find we prefer it that way.
burnt03 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2009, 12:25 AM   #10
Household Handyman
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Albany, Ga.
Posts: 2,237
Default

Light switch shock


burnt03--IF this is one of those rotary turn type of timer switches then I can understand why you would want it out. A bath vent fan should run longer than you are actually in the bath area, this is to assure that all, or at least most, of the humidity in the bath area is removed. There are timing devices out there that look a lot better than those rotary type switches (the Mark Time brand comes to mind). And IF you decide to change it out, just remember to find the circuit breaker for this circuit and turn it OFF this time Good Luck, David
Thurman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2009, 09:04 AM   #11
Licensed electrician
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 7,328
Default

Light switch shock


I am going to suggest you spend some time reading up on basic electrical terms so that you can better describe the parts you are dealing with. This will save you both time and aggravation in the future and help others to provide a better solution to your questions.
Jim Port is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2009, 10:01 AM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 248
Default

Light switch shock


That's a good suggestion, I'll do so
burnt03 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2009, 03:51 PM   #13
Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Sylvester, GA
Posts: 10
Default

Light switch shock


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thurman View Post
burnt03--IF this is one of those rotary turn type of timer switches then I can understand why you would want it out. A bath vent fan should run longer than you are actually in the bath area, this is to assure that all, or at least most, of the humidity in the bath area is removed. There are timing devices out there that look a lot better than those rotary type switches (the Mark Time brand comes to mind). And IF you decide to change it out, just remember to find the circuit breaker for this circuit and turn it OFF this time Good Luck, David
I agree completely- I swapped out all the switches on my bath fans for timers and I find them very convenient. I used these http://www.passandseymour.com/pdf/M17.pdf but there are many similar products out there from a number of manufacturers.
JonboyAU is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2009, 05:40 PM   #14
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NW of D.C.
Posts: 5,990
Default

Light switch shock


Quote:
Originally Posted by burnt03 View Post
. . .improper ground?
Nah, I'd say you were "properly grounded", but current through your fingers is not as dangerous as current through your chest.
Yoyizit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2009, 05:50 PM   #15
Wire Chewer
 
Red Squirrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,198
Default

Light switch shock


*sometimes* it's safe to not turn off the breaker when you remove everything from the circuit that switch controls, (ex: remove all the light bulbs). Don't count on it though. A situation where this works is if the hot comes from the panel, goes to the fixtures, to the switch, then to the panel as a neutral. So by removing the lights you are essentially shutting off the circuit at that point.

Now if the hot goes straight to the switch then to the fixture, you're screwed.

No real reason to do this though, unless the panel is very hard to get to like my parent's house. I don't have enough fingers to count the number of shocks I've had at my parent's house due to my lazyness of trying to get to their panel. When I walk in the neon tube isle at home depot, they all light up. :p

Red Squirrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Confused by switch w/indicator light install... WaldenL Electrical 7 08-29-2009 09:02 AM
Tracing light switch to an outlet allanet Electrical 13 04-03-2009 08:44 AM
A simple 2 light --1 switch question? redondo11@msn.com Electrical 7 11-05-2008 08:35 AM
no power going to the light switch baseballfan Electrical 18 09-08-2008 05:35 PM
Problem changing light switch grgryl Electrical 14 08-10-2008 01:26 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.