Has a light switch not worked in your home recently? The most likely thing you need to do is change the lightbulb. If that doesn’t work, you might have a broken light switch.
Hiring a professional, of course, can help you figure out what’s wrong. But, you might be surprised that you can fix a broken light switch yourself using the right tools and a little trial and error.
We’ll guide you through common troubleshooting steps to fix your broken light switch. We’ll also give you safety tips and suggestions on making the task easy and doable for an average DIY-er.
What You Will Need:
- Wire connectors (if needed)
- New wall switch (if needed)
- Non-contact circuit tester
- Continuity tester
1. Safety First
Since we’ll be dealing with electricity, it’s essential to practice safety practices to avoid electrocution.
To begin, cut off the electricity to the circuit at the fuse box. Using a circuit tester, check to ensure that no power is running through the lines.
2. Inspect If It Needs Replacement
Take a good look at your light switch and inspect if there are any visible loose or broken parts. Maybe the sliding mechanism or the toggle lever isn’t functioning because it has worn out through time. If this is the case, a light switch replacement is needed.
Also, try to listen if your switch makes a buzzing sound or is warm to the touch. These could be signs of something scorching or melting inside. These are almost sure signs of a broken light switch that needs replacement immediately.
3. How to Replace a Broken Single-Pole Light Switch
- Turn off the electricity to the switch. Then, unscrew the old switch from its electrical box cover with a screwdriver.
- Pull the switch outward, but don’t touch any wires. Using an electrical tester can help you ensure that the wires are not active.
- Use a screwdriver to remove the broken light switch from its wires. Take note of where the wires connect so you’ll have no trouble reconnecting them to the new switch.
- Wires that will be connected to the new switch should be straightened or cut off at the very end. Wire strippers can be used to remove about ½ inch of insulation from the ends of the wires.
- Connect the new light switch and ensure you pay attention to where the wires connect to which terminal.
- The wires must fit snugly around the screw as you tighten it. You want this to be very snug. Loose fittings can make electricity arcs that could start a fire.
- Once you have snugly connected all the wires, bend them back like an accordion and put them back in the box.
- Match the switch to the wall holes and screw the new outlet in.
- Reinstall the switch faceplate. The cover plate should be screwed in place but not too tight, or the plate may split.
- Switch the power back on to test.
4. Check Other Common Problems
Wire connections are probably your issue if your light switch doesn’t need to be replaced but produces flickering lights.
Ensure that the wires are securely attached to the switch. Screws should be tightened enough to keep wires securely in place.
Damaged wire ends
Frayed, bent, or nicked wires may not produce a good connection. Strip the plastic sheath and trim the wire ends until one inch of wire is exposed. Reconnect the wires.
Repairing a broken light switch can be done safely if you follow safety rules and have the right tools. You can do many easy home repairs on your own instead of hiring a professional.
Always make sure you do the proper research, follow the steps, and keep safety in mind. Good luck with your next home repair project!