I'm changing the chandelier in my living room and I would like to double check whether its switch is on the live or on the neutral wire.

I have a test lamp which is rated to measure 125-250V. There are 2 wires coming from the ceiling. When I turn the switch on and test wires with the test lamp, there is light on one of the wires. When I turn the switch off and test again, there is no light.

Does that mean that the switch is on the live wire, as it should be? And does that mean that there is no current in it and it's safe to work on it?

I'm asking this mostly because I would like to work with the wires, without turning off the main fuse.



closed as off-topic by DoxyLover, RoyC, evildemonic, Finbarr, stefandz May 16 at 9:43

  • This question does not appear to be about electronics design within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What are you testing each of the wires against? \$\endgroup\$ – TimWescott May 12 at 21:57
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is not about electronic design. It should be on diy.stackexchange.com \$\endgroup\$ – DoxyLover May 13 at 2:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about diy home repair. \$\endgroup\$ – evildemonic May 15 at 14:41

If the switch was on the neutral wire, then toggling it would not be noticeable when measuring the wires in the junction box. The hot wire would constantly be live. Considering you're getting power on one of the wires that can be switched on or off suggests your switch is on the live side, as it should be.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So essentially it's safe for me to work on wires(there is no current in it) when I turn the switch off. \$\endgroup\$ – IGRACH May 12 at 19:48
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ No, I would turn off the fuse/breaker that supplies power to that circuit. \$\endgroup\$ – Mattman944 May 12 at 21:04
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Definitely turn off the circuit breaker. If your chandelier is wired via the traditional "ceiling rose" (in a UK ring main system) there are terminals in the "rose" that remain live with the switch OFF. Typically one of them drives a 2-core cable down to the switch, and its return drives the lamp. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Drummond May 12 at 22:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ For safety reasons I would still urge you to turn off the breaker. It's not worth the risk. \$\endgroup\$ – DerStrom8 May 13 at 10:22

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.