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Old 11-04-2006, 12:44 PM  
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Default I caused a short in one room - now what?

I'm looking for some advice on this scenario - I caused a short in one room of my house yesterday. I had a damp paper towel and was wiping dirt off one of those rocker type light switches. As I was cleaning the switch plate I heard a little "zztt" sound and the light went out.

So I then went to the fuse box and saw that none of the circuits were tripped. But I went ahead and flipped the switch for that room thinking that would take care of the problem, but it didn't. None of the outlets or overhead lights work in that room now. I guess my next step is to call an electrician on Monday.

I realize some moisture got into the switch and caused the short. But why didn't flipping the switch in the fuse box reset it? If anyone could kindly explain what happened and offer any suggestions, I would appreciate it. I (obviously) have very little electrical knowledge.

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Old 11-04-2006, 01:54 PM  
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It's entirely possible that the problem could be a bad connection..
When a switch gets water in it, it rarely ever blows a circuit unless it's a good amount of water. A paddle type switch seems to be more more likely to get wet inside... A damp rag should be fine, a soaking wet rag could hold enough water to bridge the terminals. A short can cause tremendous heat in a very short burst. This heat can change the physical properties of the wire, by expanding.
This change can cause;
a less than perfect connection to fail,
a wire that has been damaged can fail,
the breaker may have failed.
If you have a meter, you could open the panel and check the breakers for power. Just clamp to ground and use the other lead to probe the terminals on each breaker. Each terminal should read 110-125 volts. Federal Pacific breakers are prone to failure at the power connection in the panel. I have seen them burn the power socket in the panel so bad that a new breaker will not fix the problem.


If you don't know where the ground is inside a panel, call an electrician.

Better safe than sorry, or hurt..
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Old 11-08-2006, 04:03 PM  
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Default problem solved

It turned out to be a bad outlet. So after that was replaced everything works. This is the second outlet that has went bad in that room, which makes me a little suspicious.
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