We have a hallway light that is controlled by three different switches. It no
works. Strangely, neither does a pantry light that is controlled by yet another
switch (operates by itself, not in line with the other three).
How do I figure out which of the three is the bad one, other than replacing all
three? (I'm guessing that this will fix the pantry light problem as well.)
I am guessing that there is no problem with any of the switches. I
think the problem is that either the fuse is blown, or someone has put a
GFI in the circuit and it has tripped, or the wire supplying current to
the hallway and the pantry switches has come apart somewhere. Check the
fuse first. Then check any GFI's in the house. (Don't have someone
else check the GFI's as that person may not understand how they work,
and tell you, incorrectly, that they are not tripped. That has happened
to me. You check 'em.) If it's not a fuse or GFI, then check the
wiring near any switch or outlet that has been flexed, moved around, or
vibrated a lot.
Good luck - and if I was right, put up a post praising my intelligence.
That is how we get paid here.
Bob Landry wrote:
If non of the hallway switches work, when flipping all of them in both up
and down positions, it's probably not a bad switch. Unless other lights or
outlets are dead as well, it's probably not a blown fuse or breaker. If one
of the switches is ganged in a box with the closet light, I'd look there for
a loose connection and if not I'd look for a loose connection in the closet
switch box and the hall switch box nearest the closet switch box.
No offense meant... but if you imagine that one bad switch has caused
both lights to fail, or that replacing one switch will fix both lights, you
don't even come close to understanding how residential wiring works well
enough to troubleshoot this safely, let alone repair it.
Your first step is to look for a tripped breaker, or a tripped GFCI, and reset
it. If that doesn't solve the problem, you need to call an electrician.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
a $3 tester has two probes and a small neon light i bought last week
from walmart superstore electrical dept.
read all of this first: with your friend the licensed electrician who
knows cpr standing next to you: with one hand in your pocket, you can
carefully chase the circuit thru switches with one probe grounded and
the other probe touching the wire resulting in a glow. the electrician
will show you how hot 110vac to one probe glows when you touch the
see pictures of testers at:
All the GFCI's in the house are in the 3 bathrooms, none of which is near any of
these switches, but I will check those; also the breakers.
And then I'll call an electrician, which is kind of where I thought any replies
question would go.
Thanks to all who responded.
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