Recently moved into a house and found that one switch in the kitchen doesn't work. It looked like the switch to control an overhead light. I replaced bulb but still no luck. The switch seemed to be broken.
I originally doubted that the switch would break thinking it was extremely unlikely. However, I have seen (and replaced) other switches in the house after similar doubt. All previous switches I replaced were in the upstairs of the house which was an addition and had nice and easy wiring to work with.
When I removed the switch in the kitchen I was surprised to see rope insulated wiring and what looks to be no grounding. Now, unfortunately I didn't take a picture of how the old (seemingly broken) switch was wired. But when I removed it inside the wall I saw 2 wires completely tied together, and two free wires. It looked like in the back of the box there was more rope but I really couldn't get to it.
I took the volt-meter and found that I had 120 volts going from each free wire to the two tied wires. Going between the two free wires I got 0 volts.
Long story short, I shorted the new switch I bought. Im am going to call an electrician to do the job but I want to understand whats in there.
Are the two free wires hot runs? And the two tied together common? Or is the one tied together hot and the two commons? I had originally thought the two free wires were travelers to another switch in the entrance into the kitchen that has a switch that doesnt control anything. But using the voltmeter and toggling that switch has no effect on the readings.
Either way I carefully taped up the wires and put them back in the wall and covered the panel. Probably the electrician will come when I won't be home so I won't get the lesson (and I'm not sure how keen they would be to have me over their shoulder while they are working).
Any thoughts? Anything I should have checked out also?