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I replaced a simple light switch to a ceiling fan. Wife

Customer Question
I replaced a simple...

I replaced a simple light switch to a ceiling fan. Wife wanted a different color. When I test the power, I have power when I touch the black wire and ground wire. I have power when I touch the white wire and ground wire. However, I have no power when I touch the black wire and white wire.

Contractor's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. How long have you been dealing with this?

Just now

Contractor's Assistant: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?

Yes

Contractor's Assistant: Anything else we should know to help you best?

I don't think so

Submitted: 11 months ago.Category: Electrical
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Answered in 1 minute by:
9/22/2017
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago
Kevin
Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 4,480
Experience: 31 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC General Class License
Verified

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) How many wires and the wire colors that are terminated to the switch?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
1 black wire, 1 white wire, 1 bare wire. When I removed the old light switch, it looked like they were hooked up normally.
Customer reply replied 11 months ago
are you still there?
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

Thanks for the replies.

1) The white wire should be the hot wire and should always be live whether the switch is ON or OFF. The black switch wire is the switched loop wire that extends from the switch out to the light. The black wire will only be live when the switch is in the ON position.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
but when I hook up the white and black wires to the light switch and the bare wire to the grounded screw, the light stays on and never turns off.
Customer reply replied 11 months ago
I have changed switches a couple of times so I know the switch is good
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

1) Did you change wires at the light or only in the switch box?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
did not touch the light (which is a ceiling fan light combo) ...... I have only messed with light switch box
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

Then you don't have the switched leg wire terminated to the switch. You have an incorrect black terminated to the switch. Thus the reason the switch is not working.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
what do I do now?
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

Do you have a continuity tester? You need to identify and confirm the black switched loop wire that extends from the switch box out to the light kit.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
no
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

Either get a continuity tester or it will be a guessing game as to the correct black switched loop wire to the light kit. I suspect the switch box contains multiple black wires, correct?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
no .... the switch box only has 1 set of wires coming to it....... black, white, bare. That is what I have been looking at.
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

What kind of tester are you using?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
just one that lights up if you touch its 2 wires to the wires in the wall
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

1) Temporarily splice the white to the black. Does the light stay ON?

2) Then remove the splice and the light should turn OFF, correct?

3) Whenever performing electrical work, you need a 2 wire lead AC voltage tester, preferably a meter. Non-contact testers are not able to measure voltage.

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Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

1) Spread the 3 wires apart and remove the switch. From white to ground, you should get 120 volts.

2) From black to ground, you should get 0 volts.

3) From white to ground, you should also get 120 volts

Correct?

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Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

1) Is the switch a single pole with 2 brass screws and 1 green screw?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
i have the 3 wires apart and the light is on.
Customer reply replied 11 months ago
when i touch the black wire to the bare wire, my tester light comes on. when i touch the white wire to the bare wire, my tester light comes on. when i touch the black wire to the white wire, my tester light does NOT come on.
Customer reply replied 11 months ago
but right now ..... all 3 wires are apart and my light is on.
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

1) Does the fan have a remote receiver or only wall switch and pull chain controlled?

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
no remote. only a wall switch and pull chain
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

1) Since only 3 wires in the switch box and all of them are spread apart, yet the light remains ON, wires must have been altered in the ceiling box.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
ok ...... so now what?
Customer reply replied 11 months ago
do i make the white wire a ground wire and hook the bare wire & black wire to the light switch? Or, do i make the black wire the ground wire and hook the bare wire and white wires to the light switch?
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

1) Either the switch box contains more than 1 black, 1 white or the ceiling box wiring was altered since the light remains in the ON position.

2) If only 1 white in the switch box, that is a hot wire. If only 1 black wire in the switch box, that is a switched loop wire.

3) Bare copper is only a ground wire and only spliced to other bare copper or green ground wires or terminated to a green ground screw.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
well ...... i don't know what else to tell you. So, thanks for trying. Good-bye.
Electrician: Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor replied 11 months ago

I've opted out of the question. Perhaps another expert can better assist you.

You will be notified once your question is picked up.

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Electrician: Mike G., Master Electrician replied 11 months ago
Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 8,429
Experience: Proven Professional 49 years Experience
Verified

Hi, I'm Mike G and I'll be assisting you. After reading the messagesthe only thing that could be causing the problem is a miswiring at the ceiling box. You need to open the box and tell me the count and colors of all the house wires

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