Edit.... Ok so found the issue and this won't be an easy fix. If you know some tricks/tips let me know. Looks like the black wire coming from the breaker panel to the first outlet had a nick in it and was in contact with the ground wire in the receptacle. This shouldn't have been a big issue, that's why the breaker is there but when I asked my wife originally to turn the breaker back on she apparently held it to the on position and looks like that fried the wire as I have continuity between black and ground now on that wire. How does one replace an entire section of wire going through the house with the least amount of work/carnage to repair?

Hopefully someone can help here. I am in the middle of a reno and replaced 4 outlets and 1 light switch in one room. Everything was working prior to turning the breaker off to switch these out. I swapped out the old for new and now cannot turn the breaker back on. It pops and lights up if I try to switch it to on. I pulled the outlets and light switch out of their receptacle, checked connections making sure black to copper and white to silver and tried again thinking something was grounding out inside one of the boxes. Same result at the breaker. Next I went and removed all the outlets and the switch leaving the wires extended out from the receptacle and away from each other, planning to then reinstall one at a time until I found which one was causing the trip. Here's where it gets weird, I'm still getting the same result when I try to turn the breaker back on. Anyone have any idea what is going on??

  • 1
    Can you post a photo of the inside of the box for the light switch? Oct 31, 2017 at 3:05
  • Post photos of the inside of all boxes you messed with
    – mmathis
    Oct 31, 2017 at 14:52

2 Answers 2


Alright. You have a short in the circuit wiring which was probably caused by switching out the receptacles and switch. That means there is a good chance there is a nicked wire inside one of the boxes and it is making contact with either the ground, neutral or even another hot wire (highly unlikely since you don't have two breakers tripping). You need to examine your wires in the boxes for any burn marks or nicks. Since you are tripping with all of the devices removed, I would start where the circuit begins.

If that doesn't work you may need to get a continuity tester and begin to "ring out" your wiring to see if you can find which part of the circuit is shorting.

PS - I didn't ask if the devices were daisy chained or connected through the devices. If they are daisy chained you need to disconnect and separate the splices before you start testing. In short break it into small individual pieces and find the piece that doesn't work.

PSS If you do have to break apart the splices don't forget to mark or identify all of your conductors.

Good luck and stay safe.


Did you do any other renovations while the power was off? Depending on where you ran your electrical wires and the depth of screws used, it is possible to accidentally drive a screw into a wire shorting the hot to either the ground or neutral. Common culprits are the 2-1/2 to 3" screws you use when installing countertops and cabinets, and a little less common are drywall screws if you used anything longer than you needed to. Also, sometimes even regular length drywall screws can be a problem if you put your electrical wires too close to the surface without using nail protection plates. I've also seen this happen when using a pneumatic nail gun to install trim.

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