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Light switch not working

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (Not Computer-Related)' started by MalteseMommy, Apr 12, 2015.

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  1. MalteseMommy

    MalteseMommy Thread Starter

    Apr 12, 2015
    Hi! This is my first post. I found this site when Googling. I hope I am posting in the right place. I have a 2-switch light switch. One switch (which goes to an outside light which is mounted right on the outside wall behind the switch). That switch stopped working about a month after a new light fixture was installed outside. Now the second switch which controls a ceiling fan in my living room has stopped working (about 6 months after the other one stopped working). I have not had this problem fixed. I am going to have a new ceiling fan installed and yesterday my brother-in-law got handy and took down the old fan and capped it off until I can get the ceiling painted and a new fan installed. Now I am worried that he acted too hastily and that the switch in the wall should have been totally working BEFORE he took down the fan..., but, anyway, I guess one of my major questions is I don't think the housepainters who installed the new outside fixture after painting my house caulked the fixture at all... do you think that humidity got into the outside fixture and maybe this double switch which is right behind it??? Is that what caused the wall switch to stop working??? What would you do now not having a fixture on the ceiling to test the second switch?
  2. etaf

    etaf Moderator

    Oct 2, 2003
    First Name:
    do you have a volt meter and how confident are you with electricity
    not somehting to play with unless you know what you are doing
    also i do not know the law in your country - which may require an electrician to be involved

    I would
    1) Make sure the outside fitting has power
    2) Make sure the bulb works
    3) make sure that power is getting to the switch
    4) Check the switch(s) are working
    5) check the cables back to the fan & outside light
    6) Yes, you can have water getting into the switch and causing issues
  3. Johnny2K


    Aug 28, 2013
    Maybe you could first just remove the switch cover plate and take a look inside.
  4. Drabdr

    Drabdr Moderator

    Nov 26, 2007
    First Name:
    Welcome to the TSG site! Thanks for dropping by! :)

    There were some really great suggestions given above. Typically, wiring installations don't give you trouble, until something is disrupted. My first inclination is that something in the light switch outside was possibly wired incorrectly.

    If someone is looking at the light outside, if this is a120VAC application, there should be a wire nut on each individual wire (the wires shouldn't wire in the same wire nut).

    Are there other problems with the circuit? any other plugs not working?

    How do you know the switch to the outside stopped working? Couldn't it be a bulb burned out?

    Did a breaker/fuse go out during any of this?
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