Replacing a wall switch

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  #1  
Old 05-05-11, 07:59 PM
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Replacing a wall switch

An overhead light in our kitchen will not turn on. The switch that controls that light has a second toggle that controls a light in the adjoining room. These two lights (in separate rooms) have no other switch - no other way to turn them on. What kind of switch do I need to get to replace the wall switch - single pole, double pole, combination or something else?
 
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Old 05-05-11, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Xavierc View Post
The switch that controls that light has a second toggle that controls a light in the adjoining room.
Do you mean that it is two toggles, one directly above the other that you flip on and off horizontally instead of a normal single toggle that you flip on and off vertically? If so. That is a single gang double pole switch.

However, I'm not so sure that is the right answer. It almost seems that something else could be going wrong here. Switches normally have a very long life before failure. Many have a 1,000,000 MTBF rating. Meaning you can flip on and off a switch one million times before failure. Did you look to see if a breaker tripped and needs to be reset? Is the light in the kitchen tied to a GFI outlet? Quickest way to check is to push the "Reset" button on all GFI outlets. You will either not be able to push in the "Reset" button or you will have actually reset the GFI. Now to make sure your GFI outlets are reset, you could push the "Test" button first and then the "Reset" button second. It will shut off certain items plugged into that series of outlets because a GFI in a kitchen usually controls more than itself. If any outlet wired to a GFI pulls too much amperage then the GFI will trip before, but sometimes the same time as, your breaker in your breaker box. So bottom line: Check your breakers, make sure they're all "On". Make sure none of your GFI outlets have tripped and you need to reset any of them.
 
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Old 05-05-11, 09:12 PM
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That is a single gang double pole switch.

However, I'm not so sure that is the right answer.
What he has is a duplex switch. Basically two separate switches on the same yoke.

Xavierc, please tell us about the wiring in the switch box. Is there a tab between the screws on one side with only one wire on that side or is there no tab and a wire to each of the screws. Is there two 2-conductor cables coming into the box or a 3-conductor cable or some other arrangement of cables?
 
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Old 05-06-11, 03:43 PM
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If any outlet wired to a GFI pulls too much amperage then the GFI will trip before, but sometimes the same time as, your breaker in your breaker box.
Ummmm....no, that is not correct, a GFCI receptacle device doesn't trip on overload. A GFCI device does not provide overcurrent protection.
 
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Old 05-06-11, 07:56 PM
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The toggles are one over the other so that they flip horizontally. The light in the dining room controlled by the bottom toggle will come one. The light in the kitchen controlled by the top toggle will not. The kitchen light is a florescent light. We tried replacing the bulbs but that didn't work. None of the outlets seem to be affected.
 
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Old 05-06-11, 07:59 PM
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There are 2 black wires and 2 white wires coming into the box. The black were on one side and the white were on the other side of the switch.
 
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Old 05-06-11, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Xavierc View Post
There are 2 black wires and 2 white wires coming into the box. The black were on one side and the white were on the other side of the switch.
That indicates two switch loops with the source of power being at each light.

To test the switch before replacing with breaker off remove the black and white wires from the none working light and wire nut them together. Turn the breaker back on. Does the light now work. If not it isn't the switch.
 
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Old 05-07-11, 10:58 AM
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The kitchen light is a florescent light. We tried replacing the bulbs but that didn't work.
The ballast might actually be the problem. Did you check to see if the fixture was getting power? Those switches seem to be pretty rugged, I have one from the 50's-60's.
 
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Old 05-07-11, 12:26 PM
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The ballast might actually be the problem.
Which is why I gave him a how-to on testing the switch before replacing.
 
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