If a light switch is broken, old or simply the wrong color, it is simple to replace it with a brand new switch. Replacing all the light switches in your house is a low cost option to update the look of the house and improve its safety.
Things You’ll Need
wire stripper or cutter
There are a pair of various sorts of light switches that is perhaps in your house. A single switch basically is one switch that may turn the sunshine off or on. A dimmer switch can raise or lower the power going to the sunshine to permit you to adjust the quantity of light. There is also a sort of dimmer switch that’s specially made for ceiling fans. There’s a three-way switch that permits two switches to work together, for instance, in a stairway, you possibly can flip the switch at the highest of the steps to turn on the sunshine, then flip the switch at the underside of the stairs to show off the sunshine. Also, different switches may be designed for certain sorts of wires but, not for other types of wires, and may be rated for certain kinds of loads (heavy duty, light duty) These steps will tell how one can replace a single switch.
First, turn off the ability at the breaker box. You have to to find out which circuit breaker operates the switch. An easy way is to turn the sunshine switch on, then try a breaker to see if the light goes off. Put a note on the breaker box, so nobody goes behind you and turns the power back on.
Next, go to the switch and remove the switchcover. There are usually two small screws holding the cover on. Use the flashlight to see what you might be doing. Then, loosen the 2 screws holding the switch in place. After several turns, the switch will come free, but usually there’s a paper catch on the screw, so it is going to stay with the switch and never fall out. Now look at how the switch is wired. A single switch can have two wires connected to it, plus an optional ground wire. (If there are more wires, then you definitely probably are taking a look at a 3-way switch.) Carefully remove one of many wires. If the wires are soldered to the switch (looks like its welded to the switch), then you definitely might want to call an electrician for a replacement — That is pretty uncommon, but it’s beyond the scope of this the way to article, sorry about that. If the wire is wound around a screw, then carefully loosen the screw to remove the wire. If the wire is inserted right into a hole within the switch, then there will probably be a a small slot that means that you can release the wire. Carefully, insert the tip of a small slotted screwdriver into the slot, and the wire can then be pulled out easily. There can be another slot for the opposite wire. As you remove each wire, place a piece of tape on it with a note about where it came from, for example, “top of switch”. Lastly, remove the bottom wire. This wire is usually held on by a screw and might be a bare wire, a green wire or could just seem like the other wires. Usually the bottom wire shall be set other than the other wires on the switch.
Take the switch and the cover to a hardware store for a replacement. If you are unfamiliar with electrical switches, then ask for help. There may be several new switches that look exactly like your old switch, so choose wisely. Ideally, you can match the model and kind from the old switch with an actual replacement. If not, then the store personnel can aid you with getting a good replacement. It’s also a pleasant idea to get a replacement switch cover as well to keep things clean. Don’t discard the old switch until you’re done with this project.
While you return home, check the circuit box again to make sure that nobody has activated the breaker when you were gone. Go to the switch opening and place the switch as much as the opening to ensure that it’s going to fit, is the appropriate color and design, etc. Next start by attaching the bottom wire. Simply wrap the ground wire clockwise across the screw and hand tighten the screw. Then use a screwdriver to snug the screw down firmly, being careful not to strip the screw with a lot pressure. Next, orient the switch in order that “on” is on top and “off” is at the underside. Take the wire that you removed from the highest of the old switch and attach it to the brand new switch. If the wire will be inserted in the capture hole, then simply push the straight wire into the hole. Once inserted, when you pull on the wire, it mustn’t come loose. If it does pull back out of the capture hole, then try reinserting it farther, it should take about an inch or so to catch. If the wire is not straight (For example, because it was wound around a screw on the old switch), then I would not try to make use of the capture hole, and instead would attach the wire to the screw and tighten the screw snugly. Do the identical for the other wire. If you end up done, there shouldn’t be any bare wires touching anything (except that the bottom wire could be a bare wire). Inspect that not one of the insulation across the wire is torn or cracked, and that the new switch has not been cracked or damaged whilst you were attaching the wires. Carefully, push the switch in place and tighten down the two holding screws on the switch to fasten it to the wall box. It might take somewhat muscle to get the wires to push back into the box, just be careful not to break anything. The screws on the switch can also be adjusted in and out, in order that the switch would not slip or move when you turn it off and on, but also in order that the switch is not too far in or out once the switch cover is attached.
Before placing the switchcover on the wall, visually inspect the switch again for any problems. If all looks good, then go out and turn on the breaker. If the breaker immediately clicks off, then there is a problem with the switch, go back and recheck it. If the breaker stays on, then return to the switch and use the flashlight to look in on the wires without touching anything. Try flipping the switch off and on just a few times to make sure everything works. If it does then replace the brand new faceplate and carefully screw it in place. Only gently snug down the screws or else the faceplate may crack.
Tips & Warnings
It’ll go easier in case you have someone to assist with tools and with holding a flashlight, etc.
You may get “contractor’s” packs of 10 or 12 switches and packs of faceplates to replace all of the switches in your own home. Just remember to check each switch to ensure you will have a good replacement switch because your house may have several different types of switches.
Don’t work on electrical systems within the rain or in wet or damp areas. Always wear shoes with a rubber sole.
If you find old wiring, frayed wires, wires with the brittle or cracked insulation, or if you are unsure of what to do, it is time to call in an electrician.
Check your local building codes to see if an electrician is needed in your job or if a permit or inspection is required.
Do not rush. Take your time and watch out to do a go job.