COMMUNITY FORUM

chazb1

04:28PM | 09/12/02
Member Since: 05/24/02
8 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
OUCH! Our bathroom fan was condensation damaged (non-insulated duct in Wisconsin=bad idea). So, I bought new ducting (insulated) and another fan unit (same type). While the wall switch was off, I instaled the unit in the attic. I accidentally (with the screwdriver) made the black (hot) wire and the green (ground) wire complete a connection. [I should also mention that my finger was part of the completed circuit.] Got quite a surprise shock. I looked at the switch and it is most confusing, as there is no ground wire to be seen and both of the wires to the switch are black. Undiscernable hot/neutral wiring is common in "this old house." They both appear black in almost every switch and junction box I have examined. But, in all previous installations of such things as dimmer switches and ceiling fans, if I've marked and followed the previous owner's/original electrician's wiring assumptions, I've never been "burned." I.E.: his "black-to black" becomes my "black-to-black" and his "black-to-white" becomes my "black-to-white." Where would be the most likely place that the neutral and the ground were crossed, assuming that this is the reason I got shocked? What is the easiest way to determine this? What tools would I need? Should I seek professional help (for the electrical problem, that is ?

kellyyouse

07:20PM | 09/12/02
Member Since: 09/11/02
78 lifetime posts
What always reassures me when doing wiring is shutting off the main power at the circuit breaker to the whole house. That way, there's no little surprises. Also, I would recommend buying some electrical testing tools, namely, a continuity tester (for switches), and a general electrical tester (mainly for outlets). Both can tell you if power is running and help determine which are "hot" wires. These testers are relatively inexpensive (both under $5 a piece at Home Depot).

I also highly recommend Black & Decker's "Complete Guide to Home Wiring." It's so well-explained, it makes me feel like an electrician

Hope this helps!
Kelly

BobF

08:30AM | 09/15/02
Member Since: 10/19/98
223 lifetime posts
Depends in part on whether the the switch is before the light or after the light. Sounds like the switch is after the light, ie) power goes to the light then to the switch. In this case the black is always hot and the white from the switch is also hot, but controlled by the switch.

The other part of this is whether the person who wired the switch and light knew what they were doing.

Never take a chance. Always kill the power at the breaker before doing any electrical work.

The book is an excellent reference.


JimB

05:38PM | 09/15/02
Member Since: 09/09/02
7 lifetime posts
Hello Chaz,

If we asked enough questions about your situation, we could probably determine exactly what happened, but with the information so far, it is impossible to tell for certain.

One possiblility is that the electrician that wired the house used a switch leg to control the fan. In this case, one of the black wires in the fan would ALWAYS be hot unless the breaker is turned off. There would be no neutral in the switch box, only one always hot wire and one switched hot wire.

Regardless of what happened there, please remember that there is no substitute for safe wiring practices. Electricity is dangerous and many many people have been electrocuted when the "switch was off". If you are going to be performing your own electrical work, you should purchase a meter and/or other test devices to check the circuits you are working on. Some of these are very inexpensive and they will pay for themselves very quickly.

For simple wiring and testing, this board and others like it are a great place to ask questions, but remember your limitations and if you aren't sure about something, call an electrician.

Cheers

chazb1

08:05PM | 09/16/02
Member Since: 05/24/02
8 lifetime posts
Kellyyouse
BobF
JimB
JUST WANTED TO SAY THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR HELP!!! (And, yes, the book is a great reference.)
Click_to_reply_button
Inspiration_banner

INSPIRATION GALLERY



Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.

Reply_choose_button

captcha
type the code from the image

Anonymous

Post_new_button or Login_button
Register

Handscraped finishes join the rustic, old-world feel of antique flooring with the durability and simplified installation b... Reused steel windows create an eye-catching splashguard in this walk-in shower. The vintage factory windows bring an inter... A galvanized steel tub is a surprising but charming fixture in this bright and breezy screened patio. It's perfect for was... If you're not crazy about the idea of commingling plants and pool, this modern variation may be more to your liking. The s... Yes, a freestanding garage can become its own tiny house. Artist Michelle de la Vega has all the comforts of a modern resi... If you lack plumbing skills but have a good sturdy tree, here's the easiest outdoor shower solution of all: Simply attach... Pursue what's known as the stack effect. To achieve it, open the windows on both the upper and lower floors, and as warm a... How do you like this smart use for an old bottle? Clamp an empty wine bottle to a fence or wall near your outdoor deck or ... Simple and striking, a couple of pieces of "lovingly used" furniture creates a special kind of charm. A weathered chair fo... Twine lanterns add pops of crafty—but sophisticated—flair to any outdoor setting. Wrap glue-soaked twine around a balloon ... When securely fastened to a tree or the ceiling of a porch, a pallet and some cushioning make the ideal place to lounge. V... Incorporate nature into your lighting scheme by securing a dead tree in a concrete mold and draping your pendant lamp from... For the cost of a can of exterior paint , you can totally transform your porch. Paint the floor a hue that complements yo... Repurpose birthday hats to create a string of lanterns for your porch, patio, or garden. Cut the tip of the cone, punch h... This garden shed has been decked out to the nines. Designer Orla Kiely created the intimate home for a flower trade show, ...
Follow_banner_a
Newsletter_icon Google_plus Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss_icon
 
webapp1