Is the electricity circuit broken when the switch is off or is there still electricity flowing when a light fi

My husband was replacing a light fixture outside and I told him he had to turn that circuit breaker off so he doesn't get electicuted and he said it doesn't matter the light switch is off.

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    well, as long as the wires are run correctly, then yes, the light is cold(no power) this is because the switch is supposed to be connected to the hot line(line with power) this makes sure that even when the switch is off, the hot line cannot discharge to ground. hitting the breaker is a good idea when you are doing things that will involve the switch, or that are realy involved with the light fixture. if he has the fixture completely off, then I would flip the breaker just as a precaution. so somebody doesn't come by and flip the switch expecting to turn on the light.

  • 4 years ago

    I doubt the switch is bad. If the switch is bad, two things can happen. Either the light will stay on or the light will stay off. It will not blow the circuit breaker. If the breaker is blowing, that means there is a short circut somewhere between the switch and the light. In an old house (30+ years) its a 50-50 chance the wires are rotted or eaten by insects/rodents OR the fixture is bad/miswired/shorted out. In a newer house, it's less likely to be the wires and more likely to be the fixture. The first answerer is right. If you are not experienced in electrical repairs, you are taking a lot of personal safety risks in trying to fix it yourself. It's also a fire hazard to leave it as it is. My advice: Call an electrician if the house is more than 30 years old. An experienced handy man should be OK for a newer house.

  • 1 decade ago

    well for the most part, he is correct. However, it is easy for someone to accidentally turn the switch on while he is working on it.

    even worse, sometimes the hot wire is at the fixture and just the switch leg and the hot run to the switch. So turning off the switch will not kill the voltage at the fixture. When your husband changes the fixture, he shouldn't have to get into that wiring, he will only remove the switched hot wire, the neutral, and the ground wire.

    So to do it right, he should throw the breaker to be safe. Also when you throw the breaker put a piece of electrician's tape over it as a warning to leave it off.

  • 1 decade ago

    jane, you are correct. you should always turn the circuit breaker off, or remove the fuse for the circuit that you are working on, especially if the circuit is outdoors or in a basement. first off, unless your husband wired the circuit himself correctly, how does he know for sure that is is wired correct? secondly, damp locations are a risky place to work on electricity, you could complete the path to ground from the live circuit to the moist earth. how the wiring is run, especially in an older home, where you can not know who or how it is wired, can run the risk of a serious shock at the least. it can even be deadly. wiring in an older home can be run many different ways, the light fixture is not always the end of a circuit and controlled by the switch. in fact the wires in the fixture could be the junction, and the wires could be live. the switch would then just complete the circuit to the bulb (the switch is the end of the circuit in this case). also, the fixture can be wired in reverse in that situation if someone wasn't aware of this. just tell him it isn't worth the risk of dying to save a few steps from walking to the fuse or circuit panel. good luck, be safe, luck can run out.

    Source(s): home improvement contractor
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  • 1 decade ago

    Always turn the breaker off, or at least test the circuit with the switch off, before doing any electrical work. I have seen several light fixtures wired with the neutral switched and the hot wire having continuous power. I learned the hard way, getting a jolt and getting knocked off a ladder. I don't trust anything I didn't wire myself now.

    Source(s): Handyman
  • 1 decade ago

    It's always a good idea to turn off the circuit breaker. Since you may not know how the switch was wired. As an electrician I have come across situations where the neutral was switched rather than the hot. In such a situation there would still be power flowing to the fixture though it would be off!

    Better safe than sorry!

    Source(s): Electrician for 13 years
  • 1 decade ago

    As long as the circuit is broken there is no flow of electricity. However, throwing the circuit breaker is not a bad idea as someone could come along and flip the switch by mistake while your husband is working. Then you can add what he said to the list of "Famous last words"

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    yes he is right if the switch is off there should be no power on light....this depends that it was wired correctly.....the only thing that would really make this dangerous is if the neutral to the light is on a circuit with other lights or outlets that are being used...in this case if he is grounded good and comes in contact with the neutral wire he could get shocked....remerber electricity always takes path of least resistance...it is always better to be safe than sorry...turn the breaker off

    Source(s): 40 years electrician
  • 1 decade ago

    First of all if he is outside working on LIVE electricity he is in ideal condition to receive severe electric shock only one part of the circuit is off if the switch is off his body will complete the circuit

  • 1 decade ago

    Turn the circuit breaker off!! that is what its for!!!YES there is still electricity at the light!! the switch just stops the light from turning on,, the electricity is there waiting to work,, only turning off the breaker will stop the electicity at the circuit box!!!!!!!!!!

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