Electrical wiring issue

dsen31July 15, 2013

So I just purchased a property and I am having issues with the kitchen light, it doesn't turn on, and I am going to try my best to describe the problem. One of my coworkers came over and he pulled out a wire tester to see if there was power running to where you screw the bulb in. Sure enough, there is power to it and all the wires are live. Then we tested each of the two switches and there is power there as well, and for some reason the lights won't turn on (and yes I changed the bulb to a new one). The weird thing is is that there is still power running to it, even when the switch is turned off. I am hoping with my description someone can offer some insight. I need this to work!

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Ron Natalie

Your friend doesn't know how to use the tester. A tester can be fooled into a false positive reading when a wire that's not connected to anything couples stray voltage from adjacent wiring. It won't be enough current to light a bulb or even give you a perceptible shock when you touch it.

You need competent help. If you check all the breakers and fuses and they are OK, check to see if there is another light switch that is supposed to be feeding the same light. Try flipping that a few times (in different combinations of the first switch you found) to see if that makes a difference.
Look around the kitchen, bathrooms, garage, and outside for GFCI's that may be tripped. While the lighting shouldn't be on such a circuit, stranger things have happened.

If none of the easy stuff works, someone who knows how to use a meter properly will need to star tracing things.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 10:28AM
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What do you think about changing out the entire light source itself?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 10:31AM
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If you don't have power to the present fixture, changing the fixture will not change the underlying problem.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 10:52AM
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No there is power to it

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 10:59AM
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If you do have power to the light but no light (and you know the light bulb is good) my first guess, absent the proper test equipment, would be that the socket isn't making good contact with the bulb. At the bottom of the socket there's a little tab and over time it can get bent down. Take a heavy duty paper clip and straighten it out. With a pair of pliers bend a little right angle hook at the end of it, about 1/4" long. Ensure the power is OFF. Slip the hook behind the tab and pull it gently out so that the tab is at about a 45 degree angle to the bottom of the socket. Try the bulb.

If that doesn't work, you'll need some test equipment. Report back and we'll help you pick the right tools.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 11:15AM
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Will do. I will try that (with the breaker off of course). Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 11:17AM
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