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Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3675
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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Came home and found bathroom light and fan do not work. Checked

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Came home and found bathroom light and fan do not work. Checked breaker and it was in middle posituon. When i try to turn it on it sparks and will not stay on. A couple lights also dim. The top switch on that breaker stays on and seems fine...
Thank- you name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question. My goal is to exceed your expectations on Just Answer!


1) Are the lights that dim also inside the bathroom? If so, are the dimming lights located on a vanity light bar or some other type of light fixture within the bathroom?


2) How many switches control the ceiling fan and light? 1 or 2 separate switches?


3) Are the wall switches located in a separate box or co-located in the same box as the wall receptacle?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks kevin. The fan and light are separate switches. There is also a separate ceiling fan in another room that doesnt work. The dimming lights i noticed in the kitchen near the breaker box. So it is different rooms.

1) Thanks for the replies Richard


2) Sounds like you may have a loose wire connection or a wire splice may have come loose or is shorting out somewhere.


3) Dimming lights are typically caused by a loose wire connection.


4) I assume that the bathroom, kitchen and the ceiling fan located in the other room are all on separate circuit breakers, correct?


5) Where did the sparks occur? At the bathroom wall switches or at the circuit breaker?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I belive they are all on the same circuit. The 2 switches on that breaker are both marked "lights".
The spark occurs behind that breaker when i try to reset it. The bottom switch that sparks will stay on but the lights, etc will not work

1) You mention 2 switches on the breaker. Is the related breaker a full size Single Pole breaker (1 breaker and 1 switch only) or is the breaker a tandem or mini breaker (is the size of a full size breaker, but yet has 2 separate switches)?


2) If the breakers are 2 full size breakers, are they both installed in your main electrical panel on the right or left hand side and stacked on top of each other or are they installed across from each other (1 on the left and the other on the right)


3) Have you checked to see if the breaker or breakers are properly seated onto the hot bus bar and not loose? If the breaker does not make a tight connection onto the hot bus bar stabs, they will arc.

For safety reasons, I recommend to turn the main breaker in the panel to the OFF position to check the branch circuit breakers

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The breaker is on the left side and has 2 switches on that breaker. The bottom one is the one that sparks. The top one seems fine. Since is dark here i really cant turn off the power right now. Thatbreaker seems very slightly loose but not noticeably....thanks kevin

Thanks for the replies Richard


1) Yes, I understand that you are unable to turn the power off now. You have a few options here when you are able to check things out.


2) When you have daylight tomorrow, I would turn the main breaker to OFF and completely remove that breaker and re seat it. Then see if everything is back working OK. Since the breaker has 2 separate switches, that is called a mini or a tandem breaker.


3) Another option would be to determine if the trouble follows or goes away by "rolling" the circuit. You will need to find another breaker of the same amperage, ie, 15 or 20 amps within the panel. Temporarily remove the existing hot conductor from a known working breaker of the same amps as the one you are having problems with and temporarily terminate the hot wire from the suspected breaker over to a known breaker that works correctly. If the trouble follows over to the relocated breaker, then you have a wiring issue or loose wire or splice somewhere in the circuit. If the trouble goes away, then possible that the original beaker is faulty and needs to be replaced or that breaker slot is causing the problem due to a fault on the hot bus bar stab.


3) Another option would be to purchase a replacement breaker and relocate the 2 circuits to another spare slot in the panel (although since you are already using tandem breakers, you may not have a spare slot).



Hope this helps.........If you have any additional questions, let me know and I'll be glad to answer them for you.


Otherwise, don't forget to rate me before you log Off.


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Hello Richard...............thank you for the excellent service rating as well as the bonus.........much appreciated!


If you have any other questions, just let me know.


Take care and have a great weekend...............Thanks again...............Kevin!