Switch is always hot...

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  #1  
Old 12-03-14, 11:05 AM
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Switch is always hot...

For starters, I live in a row home in the city and I did a complete gut and renovation to my house. Code required me to have an exterior outlet on the front and back of my house. Since I live in the city and didn't feel like giving free electricity away to my entire block, I connected my front outlet to a switch.

The switch was working properly for some time, but I noticed the other day when I was putting up x-mas lights that the outlet was hot even though the switch was in the the "OFF" position.

Some info about the outlet and switch.

The outlet is 20 amps and the power runs to the switch and then to the outlet. I ran 20 amp romex wire (yellow) and it has your typical black, white, and ground wires. Both outlets are connected to the switch as well.

The Switch is a combination double switch (also 20 amp). The upper switch runs the exterior light on a different breaker and the lower switch runs the outlets (I broke the tab between the switches so they act independently of each other). The upper switch controling the light works fine with no problems.

Is it possible for a switch to fail in the "ON" position? Does anyone have an idea how this switch may have stopped working.

Thanks in advance for your time.
 
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Old 12-03-14, 11:11 AM
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Is it possible for a switch to fail in the "ON" position?
Yes, it is possible. There may be a couple of other possibilities as well.
 
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Old 12-03-14, 11:12 AM
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It would help to know how you are determining the receptacle is hot all the time. Some test equipment is prone to false positives.
 
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Old 12-03-14, 11:30 AM
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If the upper switch is on a different breaker then that means that you have 2 separate hot leads going to the switch box. Is that correct?
 
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Old 12-03-14, 12:40 PM
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Whether the switch is "ON" or "OFF" the outlets have power... My x-mas lights are on either way. I know for a fact that the switch was working in the past as I was using power tools a few months back and had no power until I turned the switch on.

Pulpo
You are correct.
 
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Old 12-03-14, 01:27 PM
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The Switch is a combination double switch.... The upper switch runs the exterior light on a different breaker and the lower switch runs the outlets
Did you break the tab on the duplex switch? If not you need to.
 
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Old 12-03-14, 06:06 PM
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Is it possible for a switch to fail in the "ON" position?
Yes, it is possible, but not likely to be the problem. Have you tested the switch yet?
 
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Old 12-04-14, 06:23 AM
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I did break the tab between the two switches and I have not had the time to test it yet. Need to find my tester.
 
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Old 12-04-14, 07:41 AM
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Don't us a non contact tester,you can also pull the switch out and remove the black wire going to the receptacle and see if your Xmas lights go out,if they do your switch is defective,not really common.
Geo
 
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Old 12-05-14, 06:30 AM
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Just to follow up, I found my mulitmeter and tested the the switch. It was reading 120v on both sides of the switch in both the "on" and "off" position.
 
  #11  
Old 12-05-14, 07:57 AM
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Sounds like the switch has failed.
 
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