Replacing A Light Switch

Replacing A Light Switch

Light switches are a very common household item to get damaged. They crack and scratch or they just don’t work properly anymore. Here is how to replace a single pole light switch, which is the most common type found in the home. All you need is a Neon Circuit Tester, a multi-head screwdriver, and the new switch.

First, turn off all power to the circuit that supplies that switch. This is done by either removing the fuse at the electrical service panel or turning off the circuit breaker. Always be sure you test the switch to be sure that the power is off. Now you can remove the switch cover plate. There will be two screws holding the old switch in place, remove these. Now gently take out the old switch.

Be sure you don’t crack or damage and of the old wiring. Once the switch is removed, check the wiring to make sure its in good condition and it properly marked. Pull the old switch out enough to gain access to the black wires that are attached to the old switch.

These are called hot switches, they are always black and they are the ones that connect to the switch. Occasionally you will find a white wire with the end wrapped in black electrical tape, this marks it as the hot wire. If you find only a white wire, the electrician did not properly mark the wire and it should be black. You should wrap it in black tape yourself after you disconnect it. Now you can disconnect the two black wires that are connected to the switch. Do not do anything with the existing white, green, or copper wires.

Installing the new switch is very straightforward and easy. All you need to do is connect the two hot wires to the two brass terminals. Once the wires are connected to the new switch, gently push it back into the box. Make sure all wires are back in place where they were before and screw the switch back to the box. Attach the new cover plate and turn the circuit breaker back on. Test the switch to be sure it’s working and you are ready to go