Saturday, November 10, 2012

Changing a Light Switch Tips and Precautions

I had a light switch that would flicker sometimes when I turned it on.  I determined the connection inside the light switch was not good and probably worn out from regular use.  Since light switches are cheap, I figured I would replace it and see if that would fix the problem.  I found an identical switch for about 50 cents at the hardware store.

At home I made sure to turn off the electricity that goes to that switch.  This is very important as I would find out later.  I unscrewed the plate and pulled out the switch.  I disconnected the 2 wires and made sure to document how they were connected.

Next I connected the new switch.  I decided to test it out before screwing it back into the wall.  This was not a good idea.  I turn the power back on and then test the light.  It worked.  So then I decided to put the switch back into the wall.  I must have touched the hot wire to the metal casing in the wall because the next thing I knew, there were tons of sparks and the fuse went out cutting off the electricity. 

I was shocked, not physically luckily, but emotionally.  I use a flashlight to see what happened.  The switch and surrounding area was burnt.  Even my fingers were black form the sparks and smoke.  Thankfully I was not burned.  I examined the metal on the casing and part of it was actually melted. 

So with the power off, I cleaned up the area and debated on weather I should try it again or call an electrician.  I was brave and decided to try it one more time.  This time I did not turn the power on until everything was connected and put back in place.  Once everything was screwed back in, I tested it out and in worked!

So if you have a light switch that is not working as well as it should, go ahead and replace it, but make sure the power is turned off from the fuse box the entire time. 

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