light switch replacement in 1950's home

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  #1  
Old 12-20-12, 12:09 AM
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light switch replacement in 1950's home

Hi,

I am replacing several light switches and outlets in our home. Today, when replacing the light and fan switch (single unit with 2 switches) in my master bathroom, I found that the box (metal) had the ground wired directly to it and there wasn't enough wire to connect the ground to the new switch. I completed the install without connecting ground. I must have swapped the wires because now the fan will not run unless the light is on. Also, to make things a LOT more interesting and challenging, the fan in my hall bath is not working and an outlet in the spare bedroom is not working (neither of which were touched today). I did notice a pop noise the first time I used the new switches but wasn't sure what it was and until later this evening I didn't even know that other items wern't working.

So, here's the question. 1) do I need to ground the new switch and if so, how? 2) could swapping the wires cause other outlets in the house not to work?

Thank you for your help!
 
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Old 12-20-12, 02:42 AM
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1) do I need to ground the new switch
Not necessary. But if it is long enough to fasten to the box it should be long enough to splice. Perhaps with a Polaris connection or wire nut with built in pigtail.

2) could swapping the wires cause other outlets in the house not to work?
One black wire into the box is hot, one black wire goes to receptacles in the rest of the house, one black wire and one red wire goes to the light and fan. All three of the white wires are connected together. You have told us nothing of the wiring at the switch box of course bur is my guess close to what you have?

If so the black and red of the 3-conductor cable go to the side of the switch that does not have a tab between the screws. The blacks of the two 2-conductor cables go to the side of the switch that does have a tab.
 
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Old 12-20-12, 05:26 PM
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1) do I need to ground the new switch and if so, how? 2) could swapping the wires cause other outlets in the house not to work?
I always recommend grounding a switch whenever possible, here's an easy way to do it since you already have the metal box grounded. Just make up a short 6 inch ground wire and attach it to the green ground screw on the switch. Attach the other end to the metal box with a grounding clip. They are available at most big box stores.

Halex 14 - 12 Ground Clips (10-Pack) 26309 at The Home Depot

Yes, swapping the other wires can cause all kinds of problems. You need to reconnect the wires exactly like they were connected before if you want everything to work again.
 
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