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60 votes
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If a light bulb is dead, does it still consume electricity if the switch is in ON?

It depends on the type of bulb. Regular incandescents won't consume any electricity if the bulb is dead, since there's no continuous path for the current to take. It's just like an open switch. ...
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18 votes
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Why would the light be on when the switch is off?

A "short" as you call it seems unlikely since that should cause the breaker to trip. As a next step, you should SHUT OFF THE BREAKER, and then check the switch since you already seem to ...
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  • 20.3k
17 votes

I want light controlled by one switch, not two

This is what happens when you randomly tear stuff off the wall without taking pix first. I'm guessing you assume the wire colors are meaningful in some way; colors mean less than than you think, and ...
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17 votes
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Can 12 gauge wire be inserted into 14 gauge switch connector sockets?

That is a side clamp switch, and it's your friend. Unfortunately, whoever wired it didn't do a friendly thing. This image is a snippet from yours: Where that red arrow points is called a "...
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  • 28.7k
13 votes
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Why is a white electrical wire connected to 2 black wires?

The cable with the white wire that's connected to the two black wires is a switch loop: Normally wires with white insulation are used only for neutrals, but code makes an exception to allow for use ...
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12 votes

Can 12 gauge wire be inserted into 14 gauge switch connector sockets?

In addition to what FreeMan have said, the tip of the wires seem to be wrapped in electrical tape and have exposed wiring. You'll need to re-do these and make sure they are wrapped up after ...
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  • 799
11 votes

I want light controlled by one switch, not two

Here's a quick diagram. Switch 1 in the first box has 3 wires, and so does switch 2. In this diagram sw1 is "up" and sw2 is "down" so no current flows left to right. Just join ...
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11 votes

Why would the light be on when the switch is off?

The contacts in switches can definitely "weld" or stick in the closed position or the switch can just wear out so it doesn't separate the contacts. Turn off the power and examine the switch, ...
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  • 53k
10 votes

Can 2 light bulbs of 120V in series be used on 230V AC?

It is possible, as long as they use the same power (or resistance). However, it comes at a risk. If one of the bulbs uses less power (for whatever reason, maybe damaged/end of light ... see Ferrybig'...
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10 votes
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Odd wiring setup in light switch

Someone ran out of white wire It appears the previous installers ran out of white wire to use for running neutrals, so they grabbed the spool of green wire off the back of the truck to keep the job ...
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10 votes

Bizarre behavior after replacing a three-way switch

All three way switches have two travelers and one common. But the positions vary. Usually the traveler screws will be one color (eg brass) and the common another (eg silver). Figuring out which wires ...
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9 votes
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Dimmer switches have no ground wire

Add some ground pigtails Take the existing bundle of bare (ground) wires, and add a couple pigtails of bare or green wire to the bundle, making sure the bundle is joined properly using a wirenut or ...
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9 votes

How can I add lights and a switch downstream of a pull-chain fixture?

So your existing fixture (assuming standard US wiring, you'll have to verify) has a hot (black), neutral (white), and ground (bare) and has constant power. The additional lights will need 4 wires - ...
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9 votes
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Can I change which switch controls which light?

Why are light switches so often wired in the wrong order. For example, on a single board, the switch closest to the hallway is for the lounge while the switch closest to the lounge turns on the ...
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  • 5,551
9 votes

Running neutral wire between two circuits

The reason this trips the breaker isn't really relevant, since you're not allowed to do this thing. You can't steal neutrals from other boxes NEC 300.3 all related wires must be together in the same ...
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8 votes

lighting fire safety

No, that is not safe. The 23W CFL limit means that you should not use a bulb that uses more than 23W of power. A 30/50/150W 3-way will use more than that on its lowest setting. If you don't want to ...
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  • 20.3k
8 votes

My lights does not work unless you turn the stove on

Call the power company and report an outage You lost one of your phases of power. This is almost always a problem at the power company's end of the wire. When you turn your oven on, it has the ...
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8 votes

Electrician connected LED dimmer to halogen bulbs, worried about safety

From the link you posted: The dimmer is rated for up to 210W of halogens with or without transformer. So if you have 6x 20W 12V halogen bulbs, total 120W, it's okay. You should check the power on the ...
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  • 5,780
8 votes

How to wire 3 lights, each with separate power coming into them to a single switch?

Smart switches. And the wiring looks like nothing at all. The fast answer is to use smart bulbs designed to talk to smart switches. You leave the smart bulbs powered 24x7 and software-tie them to a ...
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7 votes

Is it ok that a hot wire connects to two separate switches?

That is a perfectly functional way of splitting a single hot (highlighted green in your sketch) to supply power to two separate switched fixtures. However, most smart switches require a neutral ...
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  • 1,020
7 votes

Bathroom Light Fixture with no stud or box

I found almost that exact same image behind a bathroom vanity light fixture that I took down to replace. Needless to say I was flabbergasted that such garbage workmanship would be hidden behind a ...
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  • 61k
7 votes

Replacing a bedroom light

The decorative nut has been removed but there is still a small little nut that is holding the little escutcheon up against the glass. Use one hand to hold the glass and try to loosen the nut with your ...
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  • 13.2k
7 votes
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Light fixture still live when power turned off

Typically there are 3 connections involved for lights, receptacles and small appliances (some larger appliances like ovens, air conditioners, heaters, clothes dryers are different). Hot Neutral ...
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7 votes

Bathroom Exhaust Fan/Light wiring

Yes, they are giving you separate neutrals so you have the flexibility to put the fan and light on different circuits if you want to. Neutrals must be supplied from the same circuit as the hot; you ...
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7 votes
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Can someone explain if this wiring is correct

The details of this answer assume you are in North America. If you are elsewhere, you should add that information to your question. Assuming you are correct in the wiring, then no, it is neither legal ...
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  • 7,842
7 votes

Lights flickering, outlets randomly stop working

It's not normal, and you probably have loose connections somewhere. As usual in my experience, "Home insurance" looks like a scam that does not solve anything. Send incompetent who sees ...
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  • 132k
7 votes

Why would the light be on when the switch is off?

Your initial response is correct that the switch is faulty and should be replaced. When you mentioned that it is an old switch this gives more credence to the claim to replace it. The one issue to ...
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  • 10.8k
7 votes

How to I add new light switch with ground wire/screw if old switch had no ground screw?

There are a lot of problems there. The left of the three cables has two unterminated wires in the box. What’s with that? At LEAST they should be capped off, but what are they, and why is their ...
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  • 16.8k
6 votes
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Two GFCI on 20A bathroom circuit

The bloke at the big-box store is out of his mind. Having multiple GFCIs fed from the same feed is not a problem whatsoever -- it's something that's done all the time (just imagine a panel loaded ...
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6 votes

Light fixture still live when power turned off

Ignoring the equipment safety ground wire, a lamp has 2 wires going to it: hot and neutral. One those two wires is interrupted by the switch. What makes a neutral a neutral? It is intentionally ...
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