I recently bought a home built in 1908 and I've found some funky electrical issues - such as the entire main floor on one 30 amp circuit. This morning I went down to the bathroom on the main floor and the light switch plate (light switch on top, outlet on bottom) was very hot with a slight smell of burning. I cut the power and say that the back of the switch/outlet was a bit melted. There were 2 wires coming in and 2 wires going to somewhere (assumed to be the light).
Also saw that some of the wires (old cloth wrapped type) were losing their insulation a bit. Since the wire was in a metal conduit (i.e. pipe, with a metal box holding the actual switches) I cut some of the piping away so I could access the wires and re-wrap them.
When I went to test the wires to reconnect everything I found that the 2 wires coming in are BOTH hot when I touch one sensor to one wire and the other sensor to the metal pipe covering the wires coming in. However, the circuit would not complete (i.e., my tester didn't light up) when touching one of the hot wires to either of the wires going out (presumably to the light) or one sensor to the hot wire coming in and one sensor to the pipe covering the wires going out.
Unfortunately this has also knocked out the electricity on my entire main floor (because it is all one one circuit) and it seems that no combination of reconnecting the wires is working.
So I'm quite confused - there seems to be no neutral coming in and I cannot restore power to the rest of the circuit.
Any ideas? Even if I can get to the point of restoring electric to the rest of the floor and calling an electrician that would be great.