DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Murphy's Law:crying::crying:

Sorry for long post, to sum things up if you don't want to read me airing out my pain.

i went to switch out a working 1 pole light switch for one of those more modern switches. when i hit the breakers to power on i never got power in the light of the light switch i changed. Our electrician spent hours testing at breaker box and light switch, he's puzzled on the problem, it got late and he's out of town for 2 days. Guest are coming in 1 day. he did say no power was coming to the switch according to his multimeter. when he returns he said he'll have to go in the attic.

I'm uploading the best pics i could take with cheap phone. The house was built in 74, the switch i changed was changed 2 years ago because it was very hot, no problems since then.


Me trial in home improvement has been a complete disaster. I'm supposed to be a smart guy but this has been a time for everyone to get their jokes in on me. Some are still beating me up for mistakes i made a year ago.. Its really affected me to where i have a serious temper when anyone brings up my mistakes. So i decided to give in, pay someone to do everything including putting up mirrors.

We just spent a lot of money for minor installations i believe i could've done, so i wasn't calling an electrician to install a new light switch. Our electrician is very nice and gives us a good deal because we're members at the church. I hate bothering him, his phone is constantly ringing and here he is wasting hours on my kiddy jobs and he only charges $40 or $50.. So i wasn't trying to disturb him to update some light switches. I have done that successfully a couple of times. i've never run into problems....


Anyways i tell family power off for 15 minutes, after 25 minutes here comes my mom nagging me...."what are you doing....why are changing the switch..." the rooms had been painted and i thought more modern switches would really modernize the house.....Anyways this is a no brainer, fool proof job....i turn the power back on and the room i changed the switch and outlet has no power.....well there's power in the outlet i changed which is on a different breaker. But, what on earth could i have done to not be getting power in 2 rooms? I switched out an old school 1 pole for a new school one pole. i put wires in same locations, i didn't have to pull anything hard so nothing should've come loose. i don't see anything irregular.

I think everyone is afraid to say anything but i know what their saying behind my back. The electrician was here 2 hours, he knew it would be a breaker, in the end he said he'd have to come back and go in the attic. i haven't been up there in months i no nothing would've come lose up there. He said i don't have any power going to switch. he said he was really puzzled at what the problem is.....he came as a favor but he can't come back for 2 days because he's going out of town. If we have to call another electrician this could cost a fortune and we have a lot of family coming in a day. I don't have the extra money to call a big name electrician any advice? A lot of ways this can play out if its not fixed asap.

How could i screw up this simple job, i admit my mistakes, i don't see any that i made this time....is there some diy rules i'm breaking? am i unknowingly disrespecting past builders or something? I AM SORRY, LORD KNOWS I AM.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,468 Posts
You need to go to the previous thing on that circuit and check for power there !
IE where does power come from for that light switch ?

:glasses:

You have looked for hidden or unknown GFCI's haven't you ?
That's another common problem !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm a dummy with this stuff so pardon my knowledge. To my understanding the 2 rooms are on own breaker but it's good according to my multimeter an electrician. I Strangely there's 2 breakers without wires. I noticed 1 a month ago but never noticed 2. I don't see any unplugged wires and would like to think the electrian would have spotted it. I noticed he did turn off the 2breakers without the wires so he obviously noticed the 2 without wires. One looks very new so I'm very curious why it has no wire. But all I did was change switch. I did notice one wire you can slightly see in pic was very hairy/stringy.. I used wire cutter and it was still stringy . sorry for terminology but all other wires were solid like 1 metal piece but this one on bottom one is like 7 strings I tried to twist together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
774 Posts
You're freaking out man! Deep breaths. Carefully retrace everything you did before things stopped working until you find the problem. It's probably a poor connection in a jbox you worked on. Start with the boxes nearest the switch. If you do find the problem I recommend getting an electrician out to verify everything you've done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,468 Posts
I'm a dummy with this stuff so pardon my knowledge. To my understanding the 2 rooms are on own breaker but it's good according to my multimeter
so are there recepticles as well as lights in these two rooms all on one breaker ?
are you sure there is nothing else ?

What did you test with the multimeter and how ?

please elaborate ?

:glasses:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the help!


Did you change the receptacle the same day as the switch? The power for the lights may be fed from the receptacle that you changed?

yes i changed a receptacle. I told everyone power out for 15 minutes it turned to over 30 because the receptacle threw a curve ball. I've changed a couple but this was the first time i saw this setup.... the receptacle had 4 wires, i believe all black and a ground. The previous receptacle had them all pushed in the back, i've never done it that way so i screwed all for in. I followed the same blueprint of the previous. I just knew this is the cause of my problem but the electrician said its fine, he checked it. Ironically its working, we have a light plugged in it right now. Is that on the same breaker as the rest of the room? i don't know....believe it or not before i started yesterday i kept flipping the breakers so i could label everyone. Unfortunately, my helper wasn't very responsive, i got agitated and said forget it, i'd do it myself some other time.

Arrow, here's my trail.

1. The breaker box door had been off for over a year. I finally got the correct screws and placed the door on.

2. I started flipping all breakers for i could label what each breaker controlled. I only made it through 4 because i got agitated and my energy depletes very fast.

3. i shut off all power (to be safe i shut off every single breaker).

4. i proceeded to change the light switch in the guest room. All seemed to go well accept the one wire with all the split ends. Even opening it up today it looks like a couple of the ends aren't screwed down at the very end but they all are at some point under the screw i tightened.

5. i proceeded to change the receptacle in the same room (guest room). This was my delay because as for mentioned the 4 wires was new to me. Unlike the one wire on the light switch all these were 1 piece and solid. To elaborate, all wires had one hard stem that was stiff and hard to curve for i could get around the screw. The one on the light switch was different than any i had dealt with the past because it had like 7 soft stems that i ended up twisting together....i don't know if i was supposed to do that but i couldn't get them to stay together so i twisted them. back to teh receptacle.......the hard stems hung out of the screw. I didn't know if that was a hazard, so i cut all 4 after they were screwed down to make them shorter.

Next i proceeded to the kitchen to update its old light switches with a new one. I ran into another curve ball when i saw it had more wires than my replacement had space for and family was getting impatient i stopped and attempted to restore all power. I never disconnected the kitchen light switch.

DMX, i wish i knew if the entire room is on the same breaker but i honestly don't know...

The electrician has ran a reputable local company for 16 years, he told him everything i told you guys except i forgot to mention flipping the breakers several times to have a directory of every circuit breaker. I also forgot to tell him i clipped the ends of the 4 wires in receptacle. He immediately shot down the idea that me changing the receptacle caused the problem. i don't know if that's through thorough testing or because its the only thing in the room with power.

thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
1 screw, 1 wire. Anything else should be pigtailed, not stabbed into the multiple stab ins and screws on each switch / receptacle.

Frankly I never use the stab ins, twist the hots together with a pigtail, and the same with the identified conductors, and then hit your device with the pigtail. You'll rarely have to deal with loose connections that effect more than the one outlet that way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Looking back, I may have misunderstood what you were saying when I wrote my last post.

Regardless, things don't just randomly stop working unless you have a faulty breaker. Most likely there is something loose or hooked back up incorrectly in one of the device boxes you were working in, especially if your electrician checked for power on all the breakers at your panel. There are no breakers tripped anywhere, correct? There are no GFCI receptacles anywhere that are tripped that may be upstream of these rooms?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Looking back, I may have misunderstood what you were saying when I wrote my last post.

Regardless, things don't just randomly stop working unless you have a faulty breaker. Most likely there is something loose or hooked back up incorrectly in one of the device boxes you were working in, especially if your electrician checked for power on all the breakers at your panel. There are no breakers tripped anywhere, correct? There are no GFCI receptacles anywhere that are tripped that may be upstream of these rooms?
Ironically in the bathroom there is a GFCI that had got painted. I tried scraping it off and one of the buttons got jammed. The receptacle no longer works or maybe it's because a button is jammed. However I think it's 2 separate breakers because I had the GFCI added to the bathroom and the electrian had me buy a breaker. At first he said he could wire it to something but I said just put it on its on breaker.

Come to think of it....there's a brand new looking breaker with no wire to it in box.....I wonder did he not put the new receptacle on its own breaker?.….

1 other question....when changing light switches I was wondering if there's a spot for hotwire but it seemed like my searches pointed at it doesn't matter which screw it goes to but try to follow the previous if it worked?

Thanks
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,975 Posts
Ironically in the bathroom there is a GFCI that had got painted. I tried scraping it off and one of the buttons got jammed. The receptacle no longer works or maybe it's because a button is jammed. However I think it's 2 separate breakers because I had the GFCI added to the bathroom and the electrian had me buy a breaker. At first he said he could wire it to something but I said just put it on its on breaker.

Come to think of it....there's a brand new looking breaker with no wire to it in box.....I wonder did he not put the new receptacle on its own breaker?.….

1 other question....when changing light switches I was wondering if there's a spot for hotwire but it seemed like my searches pointed at it doesn't matter which screw it goes to but try to follow the previous if it worked?

Thanks
Sounds like you need another electrician.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks to everyone and Psgama that seemed to do it. Well I'm not exactly sure what but I didn't have a spare GFCI so I took it out capped and electrian tape on wires. I switched receptacle after 2 attempts of checking wires didn't fix problem. So I hoped the brand new receptacle was faulty and replaced with another new one. I can't say what the fix was because I didn't unplug GFCI until the last try.

One thing the socket tester says hot/neutral in reverse, it's working I thought it didn't matter? Do I need to change? I also followed how the previous was wired and I put black where receptacle says black.

Thanks!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Yes. Fix your hot and identified. Hot is the brass screw, your identified is the silver screw. The identified should always be terminated on the side with the larger slit. You may damage devices with polarized plugs if they are switched.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks i switched things out, i thought everything was fine now the hallway light doesn't work, smh. This diy has been a disaster because every time i take a deep breath after it looks like i successfully repaired something we find out something else all of a sudden isn't functioning proper.

Tracks of my tears

Installed a new GFCI receptacle in bathroom.

switched receptacle in guests room, new one wasn't working on the bottom, only spare i had was a tamper resistant one. i installed.

I switched old light switch in main bedroom with a new style light switch. After testing i thought i was good to go. Then an hour later my mom ask me why the hall light wouldn't come on. Someone told me to calm down i'm freaking out....These are the reasons why...i do my homework, read, watch tutorials, i know my limitations, i thought changing light switches and receptacles was smooth sailing. As usual i fix something and screw something else up.

i've checked everything i changed, the only thing i haven't changed is....the last time the hall light worked was before i installed GFCI receptacle. i'm thinking when everyone is gone i'll take the GFCI receptacle out and wrap the wires in electrical tape.


One other observation....the light switch i changed in master bedroom had 3 wires and they all looked the same (black coating) i found the hot and assumed the only end that was looped must've been ground. The light switch is working properly. thanks
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top