Electrical 101: How to Replace a Faulty Light Switch

20 December 2016
 Categories: , Blog

The light switches in your home are used many times each day. This constant use can cause a lot of wear and tear. If you find that a light switch is not sending power to the light or if the switch begins to stick in one position, you should replace the light switch. A broken light switch can create an electrical hazard within your home. Below is a guide to the steps you will need to take to replace a light switch within your home.

Switch off the power

Before you begin any electrical work, you should switch off the power to your home using the master switch which is located on the circuit breaker panel. Doing this will ensure you are not electrocuted while repairing the light switch.

Remove the faceplate

Next, use a screwdriver to remove the screws which are holding the plastic faceplate in position. Once you have removed the faceplate, remove the bolts which are holding the switching mechanism in place. You should then be able to pull the switch out of the wall.

Detach the electrical wires

Use the screwdriver to detach the electrical wires from the switch. If the wires are attached to terminal screws, you should loosen the screws slightly before detaching the wires. You should then be able to remove the broken switch completely.

Trim the wires

It is likely that the end of the wires will be tangled and frayed. You should trim the end of the wires to tidy them up. Doing so will make it easier to attach the wires to the replacement switch. If there is not enough wire exposed after trimming, you should use a pair of wire strippers to remove some of the plastic insulation from the exterior.

Reattach the wires to the new switch

You can then reattach the wires to the new light switch. You should start with the green ground wire. Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to wrap the wire around the grounding terminal on the switch.  Use a pair of needlenose pliers to twist the wire around the grounding terminal on the switch. Tighten this screw to secure the wire in place, and repeat this process with the circuit wires.

Install the switch

Once you have attached the new switch, you should carefully position it in place, ensuring that the electrical wiring is folded back within the electrical box. You can then re-install the faceplate, ensuring that it is screwed tightly in place.

Test the switch

Finally, you should switch the power back on, and test that the light switch is working.

If you have any questions about installing light switches within your home, contact an electrician today.