Light Switch Hot Wire

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  #1  
Old 01-10-15, 05:10 PM
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Light Switch Hot Wire

Ok, I was painting, for the first time, the bonus room stairs. I took off the light switch plate here: Name:  plate.jpg
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When I was done painting, I started to put it back on (here) Name:  switch.jpg
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Size:  30.2 KB and, while trying to get it to fit, my finger touched the screw on the switch I am pointing at and I got a bit of a shock.

In this photo Name:  wire.jpg
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Size:  26.1 KB you can see that there are two wires around the screw. I think that is what I touched. Should they be like that? Is there anything I should do? We don't use the middle two switches at all (fan and wall). Is there a way to disconnect them?

I just want to make sure that it is safe for me to put the plate back on if I leave all the wires as they are.

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-10-15, 05:15 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

In your second picture you probably touched the screw on the left and the right. The one on the left is hot and the green screw on the right should be ground.

Name:  wire.jpg
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Is that a red wire attached to the green screw ?


The terminals circled in red are the only ones that should be hot.
Name:  switch.jpg
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  #3  
Old 01-10-15, 05:37 PM
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It might be white. It appears to be painted white. So, are you saying I touched two at the same time? So, you think it's ok to put the plate back on?
 
  #4  
Old 01-10-15, 06:01 PM
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It's always a good idea to screw in those terminals not being used. Leaving them extended just provides more "hot" area to be touched accidently. I know this wasn't your doing.

The bottom left screw (ground) that PJ enlarged, can you verify there is only one wire under screw, and it's the bare ground.
 
  #5  
Old 01-10-15, 06:26 PM
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It appears all the switches are backstabbed and the screws were left fully extended. I would move the wires to the screw terminals.
 
  #6  
Old 01-10-15, 06:40 PM
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If there are two wires per screw it needs to be fixed with a pigtail to one wire per screw.
 
  #7  
Old 01-10-15, 06:48 PM
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Handyone, yes two wires. So, should I unscrew those two wires from the bottom screw from the enlarged picture and cap them together?
 
  #8  
Old 01-10-15, 07:29 PM
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I don't agree with this pigtail. There's something wrong.
For some reason, there are two wires attached to ground screw, one is a ground and one is insulated.
The insulated wire is either white, or it appears it may be a red wire painted white.
There is no reason an insulated wire should be attached to this ground screw.
Wait for further input and let's get an idea what may have happened here.
 
  #9  
Old 01-10-15, 08:14 PM
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I think that is the fan switch. I took the fan down a year or so ago. Should I not just unhook from the screw and cap each individual wire, to be safe? The switch is not used at all. Or, do you need better/more pictures?
 
  #10  
Old 01-10-15, 08:23 PM
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It's been that way for awhile but I'm cautious. Remove the insulated wire from ground screw and cap with wire nut. Reattach the bare ground and leave it be.
That's safe. Later it can be discussed why someone would do this.
 
  #11  
Old 01-11-15, 03:32 AM
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Great. Thanks! So, that should take care of any shock I received when simply adjusting the switch a tad so I could fit the faceplate back on? It's the first time that has happened to me and I have taken off and put back on many faceplates when painting various rooms.
 
  #12  
Old 01-11-15, 01:16 PM
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Ok, so I have some new information. There are NOT two wires attached to that switch. Only the one, bare wire. Any new feedback/ideas? We don't use that switch at all (it's for a ceiling fan that is no longer installed).
 
  #13  
Old 01-11-15, 02:16 PM
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Leave the bare wire attached.
 
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