help! light turns on by itself

Old 06-20-03, 12:47 PM
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help! light turns on by itself

We have a flourescent light in our kitchen that on occasion will turn on by itself. Assuming my house is not haunted, how can this occur? Also, there are two switches that control this light. On occasion, you can flip a switch back and forth, but the light will not turn off. Both switches exhibit this behavior. To get the light off, I have to keep trying both switches until one finally works. And no, one of the switches is not stuck half way between on and off.
Old 06-20-03, 01:27 PM
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Sounds like the switches are worn out to me.
Old 06-20-03, 02:27 PM
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Replacing the switches is not a difficult job just take note of how they are wired and copy that proceedure on the new ones. When 3 way switches get to this point it is not a good idea to ignore the problem it is time to replace before something serious occurs.
Old 06-21-03, 08:16 AM
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I suggest that you remove the fixture and check for "reversed-polarity" at the wires that connect to the fixture-leads.If the Neutral (White wire)is being switched and the switch-loop is Grounded at some point, the fixture will be illuminated even though the switch-loop is "Open"

Obviously, switching the Neutral thru 3-way switches,with one of the wires in the 3-way switch-loop Grounded, complicates the problem.

I once re-placed a very old "push-button" type 3-way switch wired so that there was 120 volts across the switch-terminals.A month later there was a "dead" short in the circuit and the problem was an internal "short" across the terminals of the new 3-way.

I suggest you verify correct polarity at the fixture outlet-box and then connect a lamp-socket to the wires. Next, re-place the 3-way switches. At ALL boxes carefully note the number and color of the wires in the boxes, and the color of the wires that connect to the switch-terminals. DO NOT re-connect the fixture until you are positively sure the switch-connections are correct.

Good Luck!!!!

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