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Light Switch Problems and Troubleshooting

Turning on a light switch and not having a light come on can be extremely frustrating. But there are several reasons why this could happen. It could be an issue with the electrical wiring in the house or maybe a fault with the switch itself. In certain circuits, a single bad light bulb can affect the lights in other rooms and cut off power to them. Or, sometimes, the light may fail to come on because there are too many appliances plugged in at the same time causing an overload on the circuit.

Listed below are a few questions answered by an Expert on light switch related problems.

How do I connect a single switch to a fan and light?

Case details - The ceiling box has a black, white and red wire. The black wire and the red wire are connected to a light switch on the wall.

If the two wires that you mentioned are connected to the switch, just splice the black wire and the red wire from the fan with the red one. Keep all the white wires and ground wires together. Once you do this, the switch on the wall will operate the light and fan together while you can use pull chains to activate them separately as well. The black wire in the box should be capped off by itself.

My bathroom light was faulty so I replaced it. However, the new switch doesn’t work and the light doesn’t turn on. How can I fix this?

It may be possible that one of the wires in your fuse box has a loose connection. Check the bundle of black wires that should be connected with a wire nut to each other in the box. If the blacks seem ok, check the whites and tighten the connections. Also, if you can identify the hot wire in your switch box and it seems alright, then the problem could lie in the light fixture itself. Examine it properly and ensure that all the connections are tight.

I am adding a light fixture above a light switch that is at the top of the basement steps. This switch turns on a light at the bottom of the steps. In the process of wiring the fixture to the switch, I took off the existing wires. Now I am faced with a black and white wire for the new fixture, a red and black wire that connects to the switch from the basement and another black wire that runs from the switch to the floor above. How can I reconnect the wires so that when I turn the switch on, the existing light at the bottom and the new one come on together?

This may not be possible. What you see in the fuse box are probably wires for the switches and there doesn’t seem to be a neutral wire for the new fixture. You would need to start the wiring from the existing light that you have installed at the bottom of the steps.

Can I install a timed light switch that has a white (neutral), red (load) and black (hot) wire with white and black wires in my wall?

This may not be possible. The white wire is probably being used as a hot wire and not a neutral one. To get a timer installed, it may be better to get an Intermatic ST01C that shouldn’t need a neutral connection.

I need to replace a faulty light switch and am wondering if I can do it without turning off the electricity as I would be standing on a wood floor.

Whenever you undertake any electrical work, it’s absolutely crucial to turn the electricity off before opening a switch plate.

There are a few precautions that you should take before attempting to remove a light switch from the wall. To begin with, cut off power to the switch. In case you are not sure which breaker powers the switch, turn them all off, including the master switch, to be safe. Then use a screwdriver with a flat head and take the plate cover off by loosening the mounting screws. Once you spot the switch inside, loosen the top and bottom of the mount to remove the switch. The switch should come off with a gentle tug. If you are uncomfortable doing this on your own, get a licensed electrician to help. If you are need more information when dealing with light switch problems you can always contact an Expert for more insight.

Ask an Electrician

Mike
Mike, Master Electrician
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 1425
Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
11762411
Type Your Electrical Question Here...
characters left:
2 Electricians are Online Now

How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
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    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Electricians are online & ready to help you now

Mike
Master Electrician
Satisfied Customers: 1425
Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
Jason
Service Technician
Satisfied Customers: 3278
Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
Mike G.
Master Electrician
Satisfied Customers: 5318
Proven Professional 45 years Experience

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