Light switches are among the most touched objects at home. More often than not, we don’t notice their wear and tear until our switches malfunction and eventually break beyond repair.
As one of your electrical maintenance routines, make sure to check the light switches. Typically, damages can occur within these components, leaving electrical faults hidden beneath the surface. Thus, when you face frequent bulb burnouts and switchboard tripping, it’s time to invest in a better switch that can go a long way.
But don’t get us wrong. Other mild and severe electrical faults may also cause nuisance tripping. To ensure that your electrical system is safe from failure, seek an accredited level 2 electrician to inspect your components.
That said, here are the steps in changing a light switch, straight from Hills District Electrician.
How to Tell a Damaged Light Switch
Some faults and damages occurring in light switches are more noticeable than others. That’s why many households do not repair, replace, or upgrade their switches when they most need to.
Besides, even if you know your 3-year old light switch is still performing well, it can be helpful to look at it from time to time. That’s why accredited service providers also inspect light switches, as it has moving parts that can cause problems after too much use.
Here are some primary symptoms you can look for when telling a light switch that needs replacing.
- Malfunctioning light fixtures or light bulb
- Light won’t turn on, but lightbulb is in excellent condition
- Nuisance tripping of circuit breaker
- Hissing or frying noises in the light switch
How to Change a Light Switch
While most light switches are small components and seem easy to install, the NSW local government still requires a level 2 electrician to do electrical work. To guarantee a safe and reliable, only experienced and authorised people should examine and alter your electrical system.
In other words, changing your light switches is a dangerous task, especially if you don’t have the knowledge and experience in electrical work. But while you can’t do it yourself, it still helps to learn how electricians get the job done.
With that, here’s how we change most light switches for every household:
Turn Off the Power
Before our electricians touch any electrical component, we make sure to turn off the power at the circuit breaker or fuse box. Moreover, we also encourage flipping the light switch and using a voltmeter to confirm that no current flows in the component.
Remove Switchplate and Switch Assembly
Using a flathead screwdriver, carefully pry off the switch cover and use a Phillips head screwdriver to unscrew the existing switch from the fittings.
If you choose to remove the switchplate yourself, you can expose yourself to severe safety risks during the process, or as soon as you turn back the power.
Remove Wires from Old Switch
Now that the switch plate assembly is out of the way, electricians should loosen the screws holding the wires in the switch. When doing so, pay attention to the wire colours and their connections from the old switch as you’ll need to replicate those connections on the new one.
Install New Switch
Most lighting systems will have three wires, one white, one black, and a bare or green wire. Before installing these wires to the new switch, check their overall integrity. If some cables seem weak or brittle, trim and re-strip the end of each wire to meet your needs.
Identify the three coloured wires and attach them to the new switch the same way you remove them from the old switch. If your lighting wires are solid copper, loop the end of the wire using a pair of pliers and guide it around the screw in the switch.
Next, tighten the screw and tug the wires to ensure that they are snugly fit. Make sure to trim all splaying cables as they could cause electrical faults if left unchecked.
On the other hand, if you have threaded wires for your lights, twist the cable end using a plier to make them whole. After that, follow the same direction as discussed above and make sure you connect the wires the same way you removed them.
Attach New Switch and Reinstall Switch Plate
After wiring the new switch, gently fold any excess wire and carefully place the component back into the electrical box. Make sure that the cables don’t loosen or break when forcing the switch into position.
Then, tighten the screws that fix the switch back to the box. Once done, fit the switch plate back into position, making sure that it is in the right orientation. Keep in mind that tightening or loosening the screws a few twists will significantly affect how well the plate will fit over the box.
Once everything is back in place, turn the breaker or main power switch back on and check your handiwork. Note that if something isn’t right with your wiring, the light won’t turn on when flicking the switch or you may hear a buzzing sound in the switch assembly.
To ensure a safe and quality switch replacement, seek help from level 2 electricians at Hills District Electrician. A single shorted wire can arc and melt your switch, causing a fire. Hence, never compromise your health and safety to save a few bucks, as you might end up spending more on damages.
Seek Help from a Professional Electrician
While small electrical DIY projects are cool and exciting, replacing switches that involve complex wiring and electrical work yourself is punishable by law. According to the NSW Fair Trading, performing unlicensed electrical work can lead to fines from $22,000 up to $110,000.
Moreover, if you’re not confident in doing the work on your own, always seek professional help before touching anything. Besides, having an electrician inspect and repair your electrical system will save you more on the long haul.
Hills District Electrician will give you a free quote for your switch replacement job. Our level 2 electricians will install and upgrade your light switches as well as perform emergency electrical repairs with the best quality and craftsmanship.
Serving Sydney’s Hill District for 15 years, we treat you and your property with the utmost care and respect. We are a team of licensed and insured electricians available round-the-clock to cater you on your most convenient hours.