Light doesn't go off

Old 08-23-03, 01:30 PM
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Light doesn't go off

We have a ceiling light that just recently stopped turning off. It is controlled by a switch on the wall. Regardless of which way we flip the switch, the light stays on. We replaced the switch with a new one, but that didn't fix it. It's an old house.

We're a little concerned, so we left the circuit breaker off. What could cause the circuit to always remain on?

Dave Harshbarger
Old 08-23-03, 01:38 PM
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You may have a short in the box where the switch is located. With the breaker off, inspect the insulation on the wiring. If it's an older home, it may have metal boxes and a screw-tightened clamp. Make sure to check how tight the clamp is. If it doesn't have a clamp, check where the wires enter the box.

If there are only two wires (and perhaps a bare ground wire) in the box where the switch is, your light is wired with what is called a switch leg and the hot wire runs to the box where the light is. If this is the case, you could have a short in that box which is shunting (bypassing) the switch.
Old 08-24-03, 06:12 AM
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Thank you. I've pulled all of the wires out of both boxes. It is indeed as you describe 2 wires and a bare copper wire into both the electrical box and the switch box. With both boxes opened the switch works fine. My next step is to repackage everything one piece at a time to see if I can isolate the problem. Nothing looked like a blatant short though.


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