All 4 of my kitchen recessed lights quit working yesterday. I tried installing a switch but I have a black and white active nutted together.

I have two black wires one active one not and an active red. Copper is ground.

I can't figure out why they still don't work. The wires going into the light are black and white. Not getting a reading off of either of those. My understanding is to check the light closest to the switch.enter image description hereenter image description here

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Have you checked the fuse/breaker? Nov 18 '18 at 21:56
  • 1
    How many wires were hooked to the old switch? Nov 18 '18 at 23:31
  • Looks like there is even a BLUE wire in that electrical box. Wonder what that is for.
    – Michael Karas
    Nov 19 '18 at 1:39

More information is needed.

Is this a condo or house? What is the general location? United States?

Are the lights controlled from more than one location?

Is that a new switch or what was there before?

From what is visible in the photos, it suggests that there is another box in between the switch and lights. In a condo that could even be one of the counter plugs where it then goes to the cabinet lights.

Most important question, what was done since the lights were last working as intended?

  • 1
    I'm not sure why it would matter whether this is a condo, rented apartment, single-family home, townhouse or something else. Wiring can be good or bad (and circuits shared or separate) in any of them, very much dependent on age of the building - ownership status has nothing to do with it. Nov 21 '18 at 21:53
  • The answer should be a comment but may be looking for wiring methods conduit vs romex that may explaine the blue wire if in the US.
    – Ed Beal
    Nov 21 '18 at 23:04
  • The type of building(condo/house) as well as location helps identify typical wiring methods. I NEVER said anything about ownership as there is a basic belief that people don't typically mess with other people's property. Although I do have one monster story about this best suited for the law forum.
    – user68386
    Nov 22 '18 at 19:09

The power goes from hot (breaker) --> switch (wire should be black) --> [when switch is on] lights (wire usually red or another color).

Check voltage at the black wire at the switch. (Should read ~120AC between that wire and ground). If you're not getting voltage at the incoming switch wire (black), the problem is upstream to the switch. Did you check the breaker? (in your service panel, usually in basement, is one of your breakers tripped / showing red)? If the breaker is not tripped, then there's a break in the wire connection between the breaker and the light switch. Is it possible the switch is downstream from a GCFI outlet, which may be tripped? Check all your GCFI outlets...

The two white wires together are neutral. The black is hot (from breaker). The red is switched (to lights). The black and white together are probably switched or hot on another circuit, but they are not applicable to the light circuit in question.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.