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Old 01-06-2011, 09:59 AM   #1
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Light switch short


Hello! I'm new to this and had a simple question about a short occurring at a light switch.

I'm currently remodeling and have wiring for two light switches on different circuits in the same box. One does not have the switch hooked up yet, just wiring, and is switched off at the breaker but the other is live and has a switch. Since it is open and the ground wire was lengthy on the unfinished switch, the ground wire hit the screw of the hot contact on the live switch when it was bumped into. It sparked, left a black singe on the ground wire and screw, but the lights never went out and the breaker didn't flip. I didn't notice until then but I wish the electrician would have placed electrical tape over the contact points of the live switch.

Is it safe to simply cut the ground wire off before the singe mark and continue use, or could the short have caused any problems with the live switch? Is there a reason it wouldn't have flipped the breaker?

Thanks for your help

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Old 01-06-2011, 11:10 AM   #2
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Light switch short


If the wire touched so briefly so as not to trip the breaker, and also you examine the parts and nothing has a significant deterioration from burning or melting, and it still works okay, chances are everything is okay now.

If a wire got burned thin, you should cut it off there. If it is now too short to reach where it needs to, you will have to splice on an additoional short length (pigtail) using a wire nut.

Bare ground wires are not usually wrapped with electrical tape if they are not close to touching live switch screw terminals. Occasionally the body of a switch or receptacle is wrapped with electrical tape to conceal the terminal screws but still a bare ground wire should not be rpressing up against it.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 01-06-2011 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:52 AM   #3
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Light switch short


Thanks for the help Allan! Everything looked okay.
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