Ok, please don't mind me and my inexperience in home repair, my husband
and i just purchased our first home, and I am learning as I go.
So I tried to change the light in my kitchen, because the old one just
stopped working. So I go to the shop and buy myself a fancy new light,
get home, open the instructions and get to work. I hadn't even really
done anything yet, I was in the process of removing the old light bulb
from the old fixture and this big spark happened, and all the lights in
and near the kitchen went off. so i called my father in law and he
said to flip the switch in that circuit breaker box, and when i went to
do that, another spark, and everything turned off. Then he told me to
flip the main switch, which I did, and everything except the kitchen
and the room near the kitchen came back on. I am going to call an
electrician tomorrow, but i would really like to know what on earth
any help or insight would be greatly appreciated, and thanks in advance
for your time.
Pretty simple, really, though I can see how the fireworks show might
have rattled you a little bit: When you went to change the bulb, the
power was still on, and apparently you caused a short circuit when
unscrewing the bulb, which caused all the sparks. This caused the
circuit breaker to trip, which you should be grateful for, because
that's what's supposed to happen when there's a short circuit.
One thing's not clear: are you changing the light *fixture*, or just the
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thanks for the response,
i was beginning to change the entire light fixture, but at the point of
the spark, i was just removing the bulb. my only concern was when i
tried to flip the switch in the circuit breaker (i think that's what
it's called) and the spark happened there. not on the main switch at
the top, but when i tried to flip the switch for the kitchen. now the
kitchen lights don't work, but the appliances do, and the outlet in the
family room next to the kitchen doesn't work.
I'm with you, the arc at the breaker in the panel is at least unusual
and worth having an electrician check out what's going on.
I also agree w/ the posts the explanation of the spizensparks at the
fixture were from the fixture having either a loose connection or
something loose in the fixture itself that caused a short. It is
possible, of course that there may be a broken insulation spot on the
wiring or other problem there as well. You probably will be able to
see some signs of where the arcing actually occurred from a burn
mark--if so, it would likely pinpoint the problem area and you would
then know whether it was fixture or wiring. If fixture, it's going
away with the new one, if wiring, that needs attention, obviously.
The suggestion to take the fixture down (breaker off, of course) and
then turn the breaker back on w/ the leads to the fixture isolated is
good, too. That will be a basic indication of whether there is a
problem in that circuit wiring or not, but might not be a good
indicator of whether there's an issue in the panel with that circuit or
something else, hence the agreement on getting an electrician is a wise
If there is indead a short at the
fixture, and there appears to be from what
the OP said, a flash when the breaker
contact makes, is certainly a
possibility. The other question that
comes to mind, is there a wall switch
on this fixture? If so, try reseting
the breaker with the wall switch off.
If it resets ok, the short is probably
in the fixture area, but, that's what
was indicated by the flash at the
fixture. BTW, a bulb can be a dead
short. Sometimes the bulb base gets
loose and the wires to the glass
part of the bulb can get twisted and
Leave the circuit breaker for the kitchen lights off. Remove the old light
fixture and only disconnect the wires that are directly connected to the
light fixture. Do not disconnect any wires in the ceiling box that are not
connected to the light fixture. Once the fixture is down separate the wires
that were connected to it and cap off with wire nuts. Now try to reset the
circuit breaker. If it resets without any problem go and check to make sure
everything is working and turn the switch on that controlled the old light
fixture. If the circuit breaker doesn't trip, shut it off and proceed to
install the new light fixture. If the circuit breaker continues to trip you
may have a problem somewhere within your wiring, but I'm thinking that it
was just a problem with the old light fixture.
You should always shut off the power before doing any electrical work.
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