While replacing a LED recessed light, I received a shock and the circuit breaker popped. The black wire coming out of the housing had come out of the connector. I found it stuck to the plastic trim of the light. I taped it off for now, but when I turn on the breaker, none of the 6 ceiling lights work. Everything else that goes through that breaker is working, just not the kitchen lights. Can anyone give me an idea of what to check first?

  • How about a picture so we can see what you see?
    – JACK
    Oct 9, 2021 at 0:19
  • 1
    "I taped it off for now" - so it's not connected to anything? That could explain why the lights don't work ...
    – brhans
    Oct 9, 2021 at 0:23
  • Now that you know where the breaker is, will you turn it off before you work on circuits? Working with the power on was a mistake. Pros don't do that. Best plan honestly is turn the main off, because there are lots of surprises in some installations. Oct 9, 2021 at 1:23

1 Answer 1


All of the junctions between the power source and the light which shorted out have been stressed. As a rant... I will never understand how push-in connectors became legal. Due to their obvious faults, I questioned an inspector about it and he told me that it was more due to people unable to properly install wire nuts than due to the quality of a push-in connection. 'Great', I thought to myself. A stupid solution for a stupidity problem. What I think does not matter because now the world has push-in connectors AND people still do not know how to install a wire nut properly. You know what they say: "Legislate, don't educate."

Like I said, you stressed every joint in an circuit where a witness reports that wires simply fall out. I consider the wall switch because it may have blown. You can work your way from anywhere to anywhere, but...

As a general rule of thumb: When faced with any problem, repair what you know to be broken first. In other words: Replace that wire that fell out. It could be the cause of your entire problem. The space left where it used to be may have allowed other wires to come loose. Don't make any excuse or reasoning for why you should not start with what you know is wrong. You know that the hanging wire is a problem, so fix it. Only when all that you know to be wrong has been fixed, then move onto more searching if the problem still remains.

  • Many, many thanks. It was the switch. I wish I would have digured out how to post the picture. It showed the white wire still in the connector and the loose black wire with a taped wire nut on it. One more time...Thank you.
    – Marie
    Oct 9, 2021 at 4:21
  • @Marie yeah, the trick with wire nuts is to torque them very hard, and then give them a vigorous "pull test". Many people are limp wristed because they are afraid of, I don't know, breaking them? Oct 9, 2021 at 4:44
  • Corrections on Harper's nutting instructions: When nutting something with a very small stranded wire... say as offen exists in a can light fixture, then a super tight nut can cut the small stranded wire or, as he put it, 'break' it. The 'torque it like its 12 gauge' instructions are the reason why today's light fixtures come with a push-in connector already attached to the small stranded wire. Also, the 'pull test' needs to be done early to test that all the wires are caught deep in the nut, not late to test if the nut eventually half-grabbed every wire.
    – Paul
    Oct 9, 2021 at 12:18

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.