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Discussion Starter #1
I was putting the switch plate back on the wall after painting and heard a "pop" and saw the switch poke out a bit from the wall. I unscrewed the plate and took it off but nothing looked out of place. I checked the breaker - I do not see any that have flipped but now my kitchen lights won't come on. What the heck have I done and how do I undo it ?
 

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Ditto on the GFI, and double check breakers if not a GFI, they can look "on" but be tripped.

You touched a hot to ground somewhere in the junction box, lots of possible causes, most easily fixed, like a wire stripped too far, a loose wire nut, etc.
Go slow, be careful and all is well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I checked the one GFI that has been tricky in the past and that wasn't it. So I just flipped every breaker that might have possibly been the offending one and the lights are on. I hate messing with the breakers; I always end up having to reset all the clocks and the radio stations ... The cable box has to reset - it's just a pain. And for whatever reason they don't always appear flipped - like they are flipped behind the scenes so you have to guess !

But at least I don't have to put on rubber boots and dig into the wall to see what happened ! Thanks !
 

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The real question you should be asking is what tripped the breaker?

Got a wire floating around, is the switch faulty?

Could be a fire hazard.

One day you should also go through and label your breakers, then you wont have to guess.
Simple enough just flip off a breaker then see whats not working.
Flip back on and repeat with second and so forth.
 

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I too would be concerned about a loose wire getting hot when the lights are on for an extended period. Was the switch plate metal? Concern would be someone getting shocked if a wire touched it. If you have a digital thermal thermometer, remove the plate, does the wiring get hot?....James
 

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I too would be concerned about a loose wire getting hot when the lights are on for an extended period. Was the switch plate metal? Concern would be someone getting shocked if a wire touched it. If you have a digital thermal thermometer, remove the plate, does the wiring get hot?....James
I am with you on this one.... something caused the breaker to trip... along with the switch itself popping up. I would pull that switch and check it over pretty close to determine the cause. It could be a loose connection, a hot lead shorted, bad switch.... but there is something for sure wrong in that box. It needs to be corrected. :)
 

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I dunno about that switch. Definitely wouldn't feel comfortable just leaving it be. Need to figure out what happened. Switches do go bad. Wiring can come loose. Wires can break.

Something's up and both the switch and the breaker have testified to that. If you're not comfortable looking deeper into it, please do find someone who is. It's not something to ignore.
 

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You really need to get an electrician out there, I for one, having had a house fire from a crossed wire, thanks mice, would shut that breaker OFF until someone who knows what they are doing comes and checks it out.
 

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Having replaced a few switches "hot" I know that it is possible to short a switch to ground briefly while stuffing it into a metal box. The burn trace is pretty evident and the spark is primarily a reminder to turn off the breaker before working in tight quarters.

I would just cut off the breaker, pull the switch back out and examine it and the wires in the box. If needed, I would replace. In general, replacing insulation on wires is frowned upon, but most shorts are at the exposed tips anyway.
 

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Having replaced a few switches "hot" I know that it is possible to short a switch to ground briefly while stuffing it into a metal box. The burn trace is pretty evident and the spark is primarily a reminder to turn off the breaker before working in tight quarters.

I would just cut off the breaker, pull the switch back out and examine it and the wires in the box. If needed, I would replace. In general, replacing insulation on wires is frowned upon, but most shorts are at the exposed tips anyway.
Yes it is a good idea to check it out. About 15 years ago I was at church and one of the Sunday School teachers came up and told me her light went out right after she turned it on. I was near the breaker box and had heard the breaker pop so I checked to be sure and left it off. I went down to her room and pulled out the switch but all was fine so I pulled down the overhead light. WOW what I found was bare wires had been too close and everything around that area looked burnt. I did a little quick surgery and all is well.
Yes I am right at home with anything electrical.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Wonderful. And here I thought it was fixed.

Thanks for the heads up. I'll poke around and see if I can find someone who knows what they are doing to come out.
 
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