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Need electrical advice quickly!!!

RugerFanRugerFan Senior MemberPosts: 2,433 Senior Member
There is an attic fan in this house that we haven't used in over 25 yrs. Tonight I accidently turned it on. I immediately turned it off but the motor continued to run for a few seconds after I turned it off. I flipped the switch again quickly and it stopped.

However , it now is coming on for about 2 seconds every 2-3 minutes. I've have tried every 110 breaker in my box but I can't figure out what circuit it's on.

I'm thinking about turning off the main breaker, disconnecting the switch and putting wire nuts and black tape  on all of the wires in that box . My questions are:

1. Will this be safe provided I don't have any bare wire ?

2. Will this affect anything else that might be on that circuit?

Replies

  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,433 Senior Member
    Let me add that my plan is to tape off each wire individually.
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,433 Senior Member
    My dad was surprisingly still awake. While no electrician he's done some work. I flipped the main and put a wirenut and tape on each wire. So far so good 
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 24,164 Senior Member
    Old house wiring is always "interesting". Goddess only knows what a previous owner did. I keep finding "surprises" just about every time I do electrical work on this house (57 year old). There's still a switch that apparently doesn't control anything.
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 11,367 Senior Member
    I put wire nuts on a few wires while the kitchen was being remodeled. It was a temporary fix only to keep the built in refrigerator running.  NO Tape, it can melt and start a fire.  Per instructions of a 30 plus year electrician
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,272 Senior Member
    edited February 2020 #6
    RugerFan said:
    My dad was surprisingly still awake. While no electrician he's done some work. I flipped the main and put a wirenut and tape on each wire. So far so good 
    You should be good to go👍
    Look at the image below:
    If you only have 1 line coming in then the fan is the last leg of the circuit. If it has 2 lines coming in it probably feeds other outlets.
    In residential wiring, a line has 3 wires (hot/black, neutral/white and ground/green or bare) ground is often a bare wire. Just cap off the hot and neutral wires and you're good to go. You can tape them up if you like (if it's a final leg). There's won't be any current movement so there won't be any heat associated with that leg. Cover everything back up and you're done.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,433 Senior Member
    Only had 2 wires to the switch. 1 black and 1 white.  I cut back the bare wire so the wire nut would cover the bare part. I pushed 1 to the top of the box and the other 1 to the bottom. Just bought a plate to cover the metal box. Hopefully I won't have any issues
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,433 Senior Member
    Thank you to everyone who replied. I really appreciate it
  • gunner81gunner81 Member Posts: 489 Member
    You had a reverse switch leg there is still power somewhere in the fan to have a black and a white at the switch your power is backfed from another location in the fan it should be fine if capped correctly but remember there is still live power there somewhere
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,433 Senior Member
    Sounds like what a guy at church told me Sunday. Guess I really need to go in the attic and see what's up there
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 8,187 Senior Member
    I have a totally different outlook on all things electrical.  That is, hire a licensed electrician to do whatever needs to be done.  That's not to say you can't do it just as well yourself, but it's the safe thing to do.

    If you do it yourself, and get it wrong, or even if you get it right, but something happens and you have problems, your homeowner's insurance may use that as an excuse to not cover any damages.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,433 Senior Member
  • gunner81gunner81 Member Posts: 489 Member
    You don't need to call an electrician just know there is power somewhere else in the fan  if the wire you capped off is in a junction box thats all thats needed just be aware that there is still power in the fan somewhere
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,272 Senior Member
    If you want to go a step further and find out what's what up there, get yourself a multimeter and a non contact voltage detector.
    Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Harbor Freight. You'll find them all over.
    You can also pick up an outlet tester if you want to check/verify the wiring in the building. It's a good way to map out the house one circuit branch at a time.
    None of these tools are expensive. The Sperry above cost about $8.00 plus shipping. The Klein runs about $30.00 plus shipping if you order online.
    Sooner or later you'll find the branch in question if something isn't wired properly.
    My guess is the previous owner wanted a fan in the attic and wired it himself (possibly backwards) a quick check with a multimeter will tell you if something is weird up there. A second possiblity is that the fan is the problem (faulty/corroded switch maybe). I have no idea what kind of fan you have up there (or condition) so I'm only offering it as a possibility. If the fan is no longer connected and the wires are capped off properly (snug, not loose) then your immediate problem is over.
    If you feel curious about the rest of the building, get the tools above to help you out. If you discover a serious concern then consider hiring out a qualified electrician to look into it. Knowing where the problem is will certainly help with the overall cost of the visit and repairs.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • RugerFanRugerFan Senior Member Posts: 2,433 Senior Member
    I've got something that I use to see if an outlet is hot. Never tried it on a light switch 
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