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nighthawkix 08-08-2012 11:43 AM

Need help with home wiring: dead switch/light fixtures
Hello everyone- first post here. Just bought a house and moved in last week, starting to fix up some of the issues around the house that the last owner neglected and ran into an issue I'm hoping you guys can help me with.

I was swapping out a bunch of light switches yesterday from ones with dimmers to regular switches. Came across a switch in the kitchen that seems to be completely dead- no voltage across any of the lines.

Which is weird because just a few days ago, when I turned on the light (back when it was still a dimmer switch), the bulb briefly flicked on before burning out (almost like a short out).

I checked my breaker box downstairs and none of the breakers are popped.

Do you guys think I have a burnt out line inside the wall or at the ceiling light fixture?

Also––- don't know if this is related or not- the switch in question is in the kitchen; all the other fixtures and wall outlets in the kitchen are working just fine. But there is a utility room leading from the kitchen close to the faulty switch/ceiling light that's got another ceiling light that's no longer working.

The light in that utility room was working as of yesterday afternoon- after the light burnout, but before I pulled the original light switch...

MisterZ 08-08-2012 04:20 PM

is it possible you loosened a wire while changing other switches??
there may be a poor connection in one of the boxes that feeds the other switches.

if you could determine which breaker controls the problem switches, turn it off and see if any of the
other lights you worked on go off too.

it could be a number of things, but a burned out or broken wire is somewhat unlikely.

how old is the house??
does the wiring look old as well??
do you have copper or Aluminum wiring??

nighthawkix 08-08-2012 04:33 PM

That's a good idea with the breaker- however, with the only thing being affected is the two light fixtures and no wall sockets, how would I conduct a trace?

The house was built in 1903 but the wiring has been updated- 100A 120/200V system. Wiring is copper.

biggles 08-08-2012 05:44 PM

with the breaker on verify all the BLACKs to the neutrals for 115V or the copper raw ground it possible the 2 light swithes are in SERIES how are you checking for power at that switch to neutral or copper ground? going across the switch in the ON position won't read...the power is connected at the light then the switch is brought up to the light to break it at the 115V hot blackup there.

MisterZ 08-08-2012 06:28 PM


Originally Posted by nighthawkix (Post 984359)
how would I conduct a trace?

this is why i said "IF you could determine".
hopefully the panel is labeled correctly and you could find the correct breaker there.

if not, your next option may be to check for power at either switch box.
If you have a volt meter, touch the black probe to a bare ground wire and the red probe to one of the switch screws (one should be Hot)

if there is no bare ground wire, but you have metal switch boxes,
you can accomplish the same thing by touching the balck probe to the metal box.

there is a possibility these lights are connected after a GFI recepticle.
check all GFI's in the kitchen. push the "Test" button, then "Reset".

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