We are trying to get two vanity lights and one plug in hooked up in our living room which were not there before. We have the power turned off of course, and then when we turned it on, the lights went on. Then we tried to flick the switch off and the circuit breaker is tripped.

Why is the circuit being tripped?

Power is coming from another outlet in the same room, it was just connected to that one for power; is it possible that that breaker switch may be on overload?

  • By "the power cuts out" do you mean it trips the breaker switch?
    – James
    Aug 13, 2014 at 18:49
  • yeah i guess thats what they call it sorry
    – user24478
    Aug 13, 2014 at 19:10
  • If you did create a dead short with a switch it is probably damaged.
    – user24125
    Aug 14, 2014 at 5:37

1 Answer 1


What you've probably done is wire the white and black on either side of the switch, like this:

enter image description here

And when you close the switch, you're creating a short.

What you need to do is wire both blacks to the switch, using the switch to interrupt power to the lights, and wire nut the whites together, creating an always on return path:

enter image description here

  • ...or they may have possibly used a three-way switch, since the light was initially ON and turning the switch OFF blew the breaker. Aug 13, 2014 at 19:33
  • Look at the first diagram. That would account for this scenario. - I have no faith in "We turned the switch ON" I take it to mean "We flipped the switch" Aug 13, 2014 at 19:36
  • "...and then when we turned it on, the lights when on. Then we tried to flick the switch off and the power cuts out..." (sic) Aug 13, 2014 at 19:43
  • 1
    when we turned the breaker switch on to see if it worked the light was on. the switch was installed backwards. and then he flicked the switch to off to turn it back on to make sure it all worked and thats when the breaker tripped. We had an alarm clock plugged into the plug in associated with that light switch and it went out. does that make sense?
    – user24478
    Aug 13, 2014 at 19:48
  • 1
    Given this information - that the switch was initially in the direction you associated with "on" (up in the USA, down in England) but was in fact "off"... and the circuit breaker blew when the switch's position was changed (actually to the "on" position... then I have to say that the first diagram is the most likely explanation and the second diagram is the most likely cure. Aug 14, 2014 at 2:40

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