Lights no longer work - DIY'er mistake

Old 05-05-16, 12:29 PM
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Lights no longer work - DIY'er mistake

I recently bought a home built in 1952. Upon moving in I noticed several switches and outlets do not work, but that's not the topic of my post today.

The topic is: I was working about my newly installed microwave/hood in the attic space installing the fan exhaust ducting to the roof. There's a lot of old insulation up there that falls in my face and eyes and I'm sure I have swallowed quite a bit of it since buying this house. While moving my hands in that muck I was surprised to receive a substantial shock. Fortunately I did not die so I inspected further and found a white and black wire. The white wire was tied into one of those twisty things so it was not exposed. The black wire was exposed and was the source of my pain.

My decision as what to do next caused my problems. The decision seems quite foolish in retrospect but at the time, while covered in and ingesting insulation, it seemed like a good idea. I stuck the black wire in the twisty thing with the white wire. The lights flickered and then went off. Now half of my kitchen lights, all living room, all dining room, and all patio lights are not working.

I checked the breaker box and everything has been switched off and back on multiple times, with no fix.

How do I fix this problem? My family wants our lights back.
Old 05-05-16, 12:45 PM
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1) Get a 3M half face respirator with P100 filters. It's about $30. I always wear mine in attics.

2) It sounds like you created a dead short by connecting the black and white wires with the wirenut. These splices should be contained in a junction box. The black and white probably should not be connected together, but we would need to know all of the wires involved to be sure.

3) After creating the short, a wire or connection somewhere in this circuit may have burned off when the current surged. Fixing this problem is a hunt -- open each junction box, receptacle, switch and light on this circuit until you find the weak connection. It may be at the stab-in connectors on a switch or receptacle.
Old 05-05-16, 01:37 PM
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I would recheck the breakers just to make sure a tripped breaker was not missed.
Old 05-05-16, 05:05 PM
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1952 wiring tells me possible knob and tube or at least old ungrounded wiring that should have been replaced long ago.
Got some pictures so we can see what's there and what a twisty thing is?
Old 05-05-16, 08:53 PM
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Just a thought...

You noted you checked the breakers. However, is that black and white wire still connected? If that caused the breaker to trip and it is still connected, the breaker will continue to trip. You must first disconnect the black and white wires, THEN reset the breaker.

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