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Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 7485
Experience:  Proven Professional 48 years Experience
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I just switched out a light switch in a room that had a

Customer Question

I just switched out a light switch in a room that had a ceiling fan. One switch controlled the light on the fan the other controlled the fan. I'm going to a standard light fixture with no fan but I have a dimmer switch. I can't get the light to turn off now that the power is back on
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, I'm Mike G nd I'll be assisting you. First thing, you should only have one wire under a screw. If more than one, connect the wired together with a short pigtail wire and connect it to the screw. Multiple wires under a screw will fail the connection and cause arcing which will make repairs more expensive. Yes, you may install a dimmer in place of the switch.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How do I know which wires to pigtail and what wire goes under the screw?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When I didn't have the three wires under the screw, there was NO power to the room at all
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

Connect all 3 wires together with a short pigtail wire in a wirenut. Connect the other end of the pigtail to the screw. You will continue to have power and it will not fail as having 3 wires under a screw.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok made the pigtail and got it connected. The light works but I can't control the light from the switch it just stays on still. Same issue just now with a pigtail
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

OK, one of the 3 wires is to the light and needs to be on a switch with an additional pigtail to the same switch from the other wires.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
basically figure out what wire the light is and take that out of pigtail #1. Then take the end of pigtail #1 that is under the screw right now and combine that with wire for the light in pigtail #2 and then put that tail under the screw?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

That correct.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I have to go and get some more wire I don't have enough for another pigtail. Thank you for your help. Hope this fixes the issue
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

Very good, let me know how it went.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What type of wire should I buy?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

#14/2 NM. Strip it and you'll have a single #14 to use.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok made the other pigtail and had the same issue with the light just staying on. I tried the grouping of the wires 3 different ways because of the 3 different black wires all had the same result
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

With all the wires not connected, is the light off? If yes, with your tester from ground to each wire find the hot wire. Now touch that wire to the others to see which wire goes to the light. When found put it on the switch and then connect the remaining wires together with the pigtails to the switches.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't have a tester, is there a way to do it without one?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

Not safely. You should have a tester available anytime you do anything electrical. You can pick up an inexpensive one at any home center for around$10.00. Get one, follow the instructions and let me know how it went.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok did it dangerously and found my live wire. Now my question is what wires do I put together? Should one of the pigtail ends be attached to the actual light switch?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

OK, touch it to the other wires one at a time to see which one is the light. Put that wire and a pigtail on a switch. Now connect all pigtails and remaining wires together in a wirenut.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It just keeps the light on still. My switch is playing no role in this besides being connect by a pigtail. And the only reason the light is on is because the 2 wires are touching in a wirenut.
Wirenut #1 has live, light, and pigtail coming out to the switch and the and pigtail going to the third wire that has all my outlets on it which equals wirenut #2.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

The wire to the light should only be on the switch, not in the wurenut. The pigtail to the switch is where it gets power, depending on the switch position.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your help, i couldn't get it figured out but you were a great help.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 1 year ago.

Glad to help, you're welcome.