Fighting with our Home Electrical Wire System

The wiring to our bathroom light switch.
The wiring to our bathroom light switch.

Soooo…. we have an old house and like many old houses, the electrical configuration isn’t quite logical. Mostly because I believe when they expanded the house, they sort of just tacked the new electricity on to the old and voila. There’re a few problems with this approach:

  1. Logic would say each floor should get it’s own circuit, separate of the stairs. The stairs should all have their own circuit so you can turn the lights off and on from each floor, something  like what we currently have. However, there is no logic in my house and the second floor stair light is somehow configured to the bathroom light functionality.
  2. Logic would also say that the main power wire should be a different color than the wires that make the switch work. In our house it’s black wires for everything. Normally, I would say that one can never have too much black but in this case we’ve got too much.

So when it comes time to change the light switch we always have a horrible time trying to keep things organized. And it’s always frustrating. And we’ve been without a light in the Pumpkin’s room for a while because we gave up.

Tonight, I decided to take a creative approach. Frank was going to mark the wires with paint marker but he only had red and black. So we used those for the switch. I thought, hey! I have lots of colors of embroidery floss. What if I wrap each wire in a little bit of floss? Guess what? It worked! We wrote all the combinations (6) out and tried each one. With the wires marked, it was easy to keep track of our progress.

So to keep track, since I use the blog as a reference, it looks like blue and purple go into the red screw and the orange wire goes into the one we didn’t paint. Success!

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