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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a homeowner and I don't know much about electricity other than basic wiring. I was replacing some ceiling light fixtures today and I am unsure of the existing wiring situation. There are 4 wires coming into the box. Each with a black, white, & ground (12 individual wires). The way that it was in the box is all 4 blacks are connected with a nut, 3 whites are connected with a nut and there is a white all alone. On the fixture, the white is connected to the 3 white in the box, and the black is connected to the single white wire in the box (Ground to ground). This is how it is throughout the house. The instructions say connect the fixture lights to the corresponding color but I just rewired the new fixture the way that this was.(And the light works)Is this the correct way to wire this, and is it safe how it is? I will upload a picture if this is too wordy to understand.
 

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Very Stable Genius
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4,654 Posts
If I understand correctly, here's what you have:
- 1 cable bringing power in
- 2 cables taking power out
- 1 cable used used as 2 wire switch leg.
The switch leg works by sending hot to the switch on the blk and switched hot
comes back to power the light on the white.
This works fine but they've broken one rule which is that the switched hot supplying
the light should be black.
To correct this you'd swap the white and black of the switch leg.
However, while it may not meet code, taping* the white of the switch leg (which
connects to the light) would make things clear enough that future people doing
work in that box shouldn't be (too) confused.
*with black tape
 

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A "Handy Husband"
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14,117 Posts
You have a switch loop that is wired incorrectly. You are switching the neutral instead of the black and it is a dangerous condition. If you want to correct, the cable that has the white connected to the fixture white is the switch loop. That cable white should be connected to the other black wires and that cable black connected to the fixture black. Connect the fixture white to the bundle if other whites. Mark the switch loop white with a piece if black tape to show it is being used as a hot conductor.

Sent from my RCT6213W22 using Tapatalk
 

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Super Moderator
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You have a switch loop that is wired incorrectly. You are switching the neutral instead of the black and it is a dangerous condition.
Incorrect. The neutral is not being switched. The white wire is being switched and in this case is a hot wire not a neutral. Not all white wires are neutrals.

From the pictures the wiring appears to be correct the white wire appears to be a black wire with paint all over it.
 

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Very Stable Genius
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The lone white wire appears to have a black stripe (not a burn mark) on it making it look black.
I wouldn't use the white that way but now that it's done I'd leave it
alone except to mark it with black tape which I think is more obvious
than the black mark they've put on it.
Only way this is dangerous is if someone decides to work in this box
without turning off the breaker, or the switch, then they touch (black
marked) white conductor without testing first to see if it's live. If they
do all that they deserve the shock they get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You don't think that there's any danger in how it is CodeMatters? It's been like that for 40 years prior so I didn't think that there was a problem other than there being so many wires in the box.
 

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The fact that a black and white wire are swapped on a switch loop is a code violation. However it not in any way unsafe as far as a fire hazard. It is only weird having two whites connected to the fixture.
 
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