There was a time when there were a string of jokes about the simple task of changing a light bulb, and how many people of different types were needed to accomplish this task. One asked how many psychologists it would take and the answer was that it would need only one – but then the light bulb would have to want to change. Changing a light switch is more complicated than replacing a burnt out globe, but it shouldn’t require a team of experts either, if you follow some simple steps.

When do you need to replace the light switch?

It’s not surprising that light switches don’t last forever. After all, they are used several times a day in most homes, and as a result they do finally give in to wear and tear. Most simply stop functioning and the light just doesn’t come on anymore, no matter how many times you press the switch.  But when they start giving off sparks because of this wear and tear, it becomes not just an option to replace them, but a priority.

You might also want to replace a plain old light switch which dates back to days before trendier switch alternatives were developed, which offer more than a simple flip-on-and-glare option. Switches now provide dimmers to soften the glare, and are linked to motion sensors that turn on the light when someone’s moving around. Then there are some that provide central lighting control, and even those that work on timers.

The more complicated the function is, and the more poles (circuits) attached to it, the more difficult installing a new switch becomes. In those instances it would be advisable to call in your professional electrician in Colorado Springs CO, to do the job for you.

Removing a Single Pole Switch

  1. Before doing anything about actually changing the single pole light switch, make sure to switch off the power coming to it. And don’t take it for granted that the power is off just because you have flipped the breaker switch. There could be a fault which means current is still present in the wires you are going to change. Use a circuit tester to make sure the wires are not live, before disconnecting them.
  2. Remove the plastic switch cover plate, and carefully pull the switch out of its box without touching any of the wires. Check the wires attached to the switch with the circuit or voltage tester to make sure no voltage registers.
  3. Depending on whether the black (hot) wires are connected with screws or held by clamps in terminal, unscrew the screws in a counter clockwise direction, or use a small flat screwdriver to release the clamps by pushing it into the slot provided in the switch.

Installing the New Switch

If the new switch doesn’t have its own wires protruding from it, and has terminal screws, it’s quite simple. Use the circuit wires to attach to the terminal screws on the switch.

  1. Start by bending the end of the green ground wire from the circuit so that it makes a small hook which you can place over the switch’s loosened ground terminal screw, and then tighten it clockwise.
  2. Attach the two black wires from the circuit to the terminal screws in the same way, and tighten them in place. If the switch doesn’t have terminal screws but instead has holes, straighten the black circuit wires, make sure the ends have been stripped of insulation to a length of about a half an inch, and push them into the holes as far as possible. Give them each a tug to make sure they are firmly in place.
  3. Working gently, fold the wires behind the switch and make sure it has been connected with the right side up before positioning it in the box on the wall. Use screws to hold it in place. Finally, screw the switch cover plate back in place, and then turn on the power at the breaker box.

If the switch you are installing has its own short wires, which emerge from the switch, twist their bare ends with the bare ends of the circuit’s wires. Be sure to join the green grounding wires with the circuit’s ground wire, and the end of each black wire with the end of the circuit’s black wires. Secure all your joins with a wire nut or compression sleeve, and make sure the joins are secure.

If the light switch swop seems to tedious, boring or complicated for you, a professional electrician will definitely be prepared to relight up your life for you in Colorado Springs Co. Call one today.

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