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The Importance of Electrical Cover Plates

Prevent Electrical Hazards by Covering Switches and Outlets – One great safety measure is to simply replace an switch or outlet cover to avoid the exposure of electrical wiring and to keep fingers from coming into contact with energized parts.

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Reducing the Risk of Exposure to Electricity
[ad#block]Electrical Safety Question: There is no switch plate over the light switch in bathroom and screws are removed from actual switch. Last night I tried to turn the switch on and  it sparked and power in bathroom, the hallway, and half of bedroom went out. My husband attempted to flip the switch back over in circuit box, but it remained in the middle position, he then proceeded to switch off EVERY Switch within the Circuit box, and apparently he forced over the THROWN switch, he heard a hum and or buzz sound.
Now we have no power within the house, EXCEPT for, Central Heating and Cooling, Stove, Washer and dryer all 240 volt.
What is the issue? How do rectify?

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your Electrical Safety Question MEL.
Background: MEL, a Homeowner from Spartanburg, SC

Prevent Electrical Hazards by Covering Switches and Outlets
I believe you have described the problem in your question, as follows:

The Following  will assist you with your Electrical Safety Question:

Electrical Safety

Home Electrical Safety

Electrical Safety Articles covering several topics of home electrical safety and Do-It-Yourself Electrical Safety.
Electrical Safety

Home Electrical Safety

A new approach to keep kids and electricity apart with hopes to prevent children from being injured by electricity.

Electrical Codes

This link is helpful as a Homeowner
Do-It-Yourself Electrical

Make sure not to miss these Resources for: Other
Home Electrical Wiring Resources

The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “The Importance of Electrical Cover Plates”
  1. Sandi says:

    I have recently removed switch cover plates to remove wallpaper and in my kitchen. Do I need to clean around wiring before replacing the covers after we have textured and painted the room? If so, how do I need to do this? I do realize I need to cut off the power first.

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Sandi,
    Generally a little paint or sheet rock texture is not going to hurt the electrical wiring. However it helps to either cover the opening with masking tape or insert some wadded up newspaper to keep the sheet rock texture out of the box. If the room will be totally re-textured and painted then you may consider turning off the circuit and removing the switches and outlets and filling the electrical boxes with the wadded up newspaper to cover the wiring. This way a wide sheet rock trowel can create a smooth flat surface where the cover plates will be installed, which will allow the cover plates to fit nicely against the wall. Allow the sheet rock compound to dry then gently break away any excess compound. Remove the newspaper after painting then reinstall the switches, outlets and cover plates.
    I hope this helps!