Troubleshooting an Electrical Circuit Problem?

I was moving an outlet to reach a new dishwasher The box is shared with the light switch for the above sink. Each are connected to different fuses. The receptacle works, but when my continuity tester touched the switch it sparked and popped. It is single pole, 2 black wires (2 white were tied off together). I bought a new switch and put a new fuse in. The switch was in the off position. I touched the continuity tester to one black wire on the bottom screw and metal box; no juice. I touched the tester to the top black screw and box and it smoked and popped. What could be wrong? When switch was removed I touched the tester to both black wires at the same time and tester lit with no sparking.


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September 7, 20180 found this helpful

You could incorrect wiring, a bad wire, or a damaged breaker. I would get a qualified electrician.

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September 7, 20180 found this helpful

You seem quite knowledgeable and handy. If someone with your experience is not sure what's what, I would suggest contacting a professional electrician to be safe. Better safe than sorry! I learned the hard way not to crowd source info on electricity! The mistake cost way more than if I just would have called the experts in the first place! Hope it is a quick and easy to fix! Let me know what they find.

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September 15, 20180 found this helpful

It sounds like this may be an older house (still using fuses) and its possible it was never wired properly from the beginning(?) but did not cause a problem until you moved the box/wires. Anytime you have sparks and popping that is usually the time to pull the switch on that area and give a lot of thought to what steps to take next.


It will probably be costly but to keep you and your home safe, you should have an electrician look at the wiring.

You may have to run all new wiring to those two places as I feel sure the wiring is very old and the type of wires would not pass code right now.

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