Live wires with switch turned OFF


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Old 04-01-18, 03:04 PM
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Live wires with switch turned OFF

I am trying to replace a chandelier with a ceiling fan and center the fan in the middle of the room. (The chandelier is off center). I've mounted the hardware for my ceiling fan and removed the chandelier to extend the wiring a few feet over. I turned the light switch controlling the chandelier off (I know I should have gone to the breaker, but didn't) and disconnected the chandelier. I halted when I saw a red wire in the junction box - I've always found confusion with red wires.

One of the chandelier wires was connected via wing nuts with a single red wire and the other with a batch of whites. The blacks in the box were all nutted together without any connection to the chandelier.

I've always thought the chandelier should have been connected with a three way switch (does the red wire prove me right?) but that was never the case - only one switch controlled the light.

I next decided to check the wires with a non contact voltage sensor and found both the red wire and the bundle of black wires tested hot regardless of the position of the light switch which had controlled the light.

I have stopped there and will absolutely love any help anyone can offer - hopefully I'll finally understand these darn red wires.
 

Last edited by PineappleYogi; 04-01-18 at 03:08 PM. Reason: More specificity
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Old 04-01-18, 03:46 PM
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A non contact tester will often give you false positives when testing wires that are close to other wires that are energized. They are OK for a quick test to see if there is any hot wires in a box, but it takes a "real" meter to really know for sure.

In your case the black wires are hot all the time and the red wire is the switch leg that controls the light. If you look at the wires connected to the switch I suspect you will see a black wire (hot) and a red wire (switch leg) connected to it.
 
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Old 04-01-18, 04:35 PM
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Thanks. I pulled out my volt meter and got 120 between red and white with the switch turned on and nothing with it turned off - confirming what you said. I attached a temporary light socket for the evening and will look into the light switch boxes tomorrow with daylight. The switch that controls the light has a black and red attached as you expected. There is a switch on another wall (single pole) which controls nothing with red and black attached as well.

I'll update details of both switch boxes tomorrow when I can turn off the breakers to open the switch boxes and have daylight to see.
 
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Old 04-01-18, 04:58 PM
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The second switch will not be associated with the first one. It won't be a 3w switch setup.
 
 

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