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Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4279
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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I just installed a new light fixture in my dining room. The

Resolved Question:

I just installed a new light fixture in my dining room. The max load on the fixture is 5-60 watt bulbs. The fixture is on a dedicated 15-amp circuit. My problem is, the circuit keeps tripping. I've gone from 60-watt bulbs down to 40 watt, and now down to 25 watt. I also replaced the switch, but every time I turn on the switch after I reset the breaker, it trips again.

What should I do?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 8 years ago.
HiCustomer Did you do anything with the wall switch? Or did you only replace the light fixture?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I replaced the switch as well. It had been a slide-type rheostat, which I hated, so I switched to a "regular" switch.
Expert:  Jason replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for asking your question on graphic
You are corresponding with Jason - Your personal on-line "Electrical Consultant"

Thank you for the additional information. The first thing I would do is pull the switch out of the wall, but leave the wires connected to it. Look for arc marks on the bare ground wire, or one of the side screws on the switch. Often in these cases, the bare ground wire is touching a screw on the switch.

If that's not the problem, pull the fixture down to make sure you didn't pinch a wire or pierce the insulation with one of the mounting screws.

When you put the switch back in the wall box, make sure the bare ground wire is pushed as far toward the back of the box as possible. If necessary, you can wrap the bare wire with electrical tape.

If you utilized the small push-in holes on the back of the switch when you wired it, I recommend redoing the connections using the side screws on the switch.

If you still have a problem after performing the recommended solutions, please let me know.

Please ask as many follow up questions as you need!

If you need further clarification on anything I posted – Please don’t hesitate to ask!


Remember to leave FEEDBACK if my answers were helpful.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks. I did use the holes versus the screws. The house is 60 years old, so there's no ground wire in the system. I did screw the ground switch in all the way to prevent it touching anything else. Other thoughts?
Expert:  Jason replied 8 years ago.
Since there is no ground wire in the system,it can't be the problem. I would turn off the breaker that keeps tripping. Then I would remove the 2 wires from the switch and wire nut them to each other. Turn the breaker back on to see if it holds. If it trips, the holes on the back of the switch were not the issue. But it's not unusual for the holes to be problematic.

At your convenience, it may help me if you could post here how many wires are in the ceiling box, and their colors. The same info for the wall box would be helpful as well.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I'll try that. In the meantime, to answer your question: both the ceiling box and the receptacle have 2 wires, both covered with that thick woven plastic black/white wire covers.
Expert:  Jason replied 8 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX very helpful information. It simplifies matters when you don't have multiple sets of wires in the boxes. Please let me know what happens after bypassing the switch.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The breaker trips immediately when the wires are directly in contact w/each other.
Expert:  Jason replied 8 years ago.
Next, please remove all bulbs from the fixture and try again. There could be a problem with a light bulb, though that is unlikely. Do you have a digital multimeter for testing purposes?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I don't have a multimeter, and I'm not sure how to use it. I can pick one up here locally in a matter of minutes, though.
Expert:  Jason replied 8 years ago.
Before you buy a meter, there are a couple of additional troubleshooting steps we can try. The first one is to remove all light bulbs, as suggested previously. The next step after that is to disconnect the fixture completely, and cap the 2 ceiling wires individually. Leave the 2 wires at the switch box connected to each other. By doing this, we are trying to see if there is a short within the fixture itself. If the breaker holds when the light fixture is removed from the circuit, I would suspect a wiring problem inside the fixture.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
So I should remove the bulbs, then disconnect the fixture and direct wire the circuit closed without the fixture, correct?
Expert:  Jason replied 8 years ago.
Remove the bulbs first, but leave the fixture connected. If the breaker still trips, remove the fixture completely, but do not connect the 2 ceiling wires to each other. They need to be isolated from each other and capped or taped off on the bare ends.

If the breaker trips with the fixture and the switch removed, there is a wiring problem within the house wiring. We certainly hope that is not the case, but we won't know until you try the additional steps.

One other thing to look for is loose connections in your electrical panel. Check the wire on the tripping breaker, as well as all of the neutral wires. The breaker may be faulty as well. To check for this, you can temporarily swap it with another breaker that is rated for the same amperage. If you need guidance on replacing a breaker, let me know.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Okay, I think we're getting somewhere...with no bulbs in, the fixture in place and the switch wires connected directly, the breaker didn't trip.
Expert:  Jason replied 8 years ago.
That's good news. Please install the bulbs one at a time with power to the fixture on. If installing a particular bulb causes the breaker to trip, set that bulb aside and don't use it. If you had a meter, you could test the bulb, but a new bulb is far less expensive than a test meter. Please let me know if you are successful in getting bulbs lit in the fixture. Thank you.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I think we have the answer...we got four bulbs in the fixture without it blowing, but when we tried one particular receptacle (whether as the fifth bulb installed or the first), the breaker tripped. I assume this means that that particular connection is faulty and that the fixture should be returned?
Expert:  Jason replied 8 years ago.
It sure sounds like you are on the right track. That may be the first time I have experienced a short within a new residential fixture. I agree that you should try a new fixture. If you would like to do so, you can reply to this thread after the new fixture is installed. The good news is that your house wiring is not the problem, which means you are not looking at an expensive repair.
Jason and other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you SO MUCH for your help! I have in-laws here for the weekend, and more company on their way in, so this is a real life-saver. Have a great holiday weekend! I'll let you know what happens w/the new fixture...this is one of those imported, mass-produced fixtures, bought at one of the big-box stores, so I can't say I'm surprised.
Expert:  Jason replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for accepting my answer. When I hear that we have been helpful, it reminds me why I enjoy this site so much. My favorite facet of Just Answer is helping people solve their electrical issues without spending a fortune.

You enjoy your holiday as well. I'm sure your guests will be a delight to you. I will leave positive feedback for you. Thanks again for allowing me to help.

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