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The screw on my light switch somehow came loose on its own, and when I screwed it back in it made the light flicker and go out. Would it be safe to unscrew it again? What would make this happen?

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Check to see if you tripped the breaker. If it isn't tripped, shutoff the breaker. Now you can unscrew the screws and check the switch. The flicker and out can be caused by the wiring going into the back of the switch (backstabs) instead of hooking the wires around the terminal screws. Check for tight connections and screw the switch back into the box. Turn the power back on and test the operation.... make sure you test the bulb too... good luck.

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  • Thank you for your help. So we tried to turn off the breaker and it seems like it's not connected to it or something? It still turns on when each breaker switch is turned off, even the one for the outlet on the same wall...Does this mean it's not connected to the breaker? Do you know what would cause the screw to unscrew by itself? – Morris Sep 12 '19 at 2:38
  • Did the screw threads appear to be stripped? So the light turns on when all the breakers are switched off? – JACK Sep 12 '19 at 2:45
  • The screw does not appear to be stripped, as I was able to get it back in tightly :/ That's when the light started flickering. Yeah - we tried each one, one at a time - flip the breaker, check light - it came on with every one! There is one we didn't try, it's a red switch in a separate box with fuses, could it be attached to that one? So weird...I totally expected it to be connected to the outlet on the same wall.. – Morris Sep 12 '19 at 3:02
  • In the meantime I was able to unscrew the screw again to be safe lol - and it is working normally with the switch. I'm just a bit uneasy about it now.. – Morris Sep 12 '19 at 3:03
  • Just for the heck of it... turn on the light and then turn off every breaker in the panel, even the red switch... see if the light goes off... what type of light is it?? – JACK Sep 12 '19 at 13:11
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It sounds like the screw hit the wiring it could be backstabs or wire nuts or even the screw shorting the wiring. There should be a breaker someplace that removes power from that circuit you need to find the correct one. Since it did not trip the breaker I would be looking for a loose connection (usually a backstab or push in connection) backstabs in the U.S. are 14 awg wire so the breaker would be a 15 amp. If that was the case but it could be a loose connection. Pulling the switch out is the only way to know for sure but it is most likely a loose connection that needs to be repaired before the wires burn off from arcing.

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