How to Repair a Light Switch

Like if this Guide is helpful
How to Repair a Light Switch

Old homes and even new ones are often in need of repairs. If a light switch is no longer working, then a homeowner may need to replace it. There are a variety of light switches on the market, and some have more features than others. Homeowners should determine whether they want the same switch or a better one. When replacing a light switch, the first step is to prep the new one. The homeowner then needs to take the old switch out of the wall, a process that differs depending on what kind of switch box it is. After putting the new switch box in, the homeowner is then ready to replace the cover. Simple repairs like this are easy to learn and help keep a home in good condition.

Types of Light Switches

There are a number of different light switches on the market, and it is important to purchase the right one based on a homeowner's preferences. Some of the various options include single-pole, 3-way, 4-way, and dimmers.




Most common and does not have any frills


Allows one to control a light from two light switches


Allows one to control a light from three locations


Lets one change the brightness of the light

Sometimes homeowners prefer to purchase a light switch that is the same as the last one, while some prefer to take this opportunity to upgrade to a better light switch and change the lighting in a home in an easy way.

Preparing to Replace a Light Switch

One of the first thing homeowners need to do before messing with the switch is to turn off the power. Homeowners can turn off the breaker for that area of the house or the main breaker for the room. It is a good idea to use a circuit tester to make sure the electricity is off at the light switch. If the circuit tester says there is still electricity, one should go back and check that the breaker is actually off.

Replacing a Light Switch

The next step in removing the switch plate cover can be done with a small screwdriver. If it is difficult to remove the cover, it may be necessary to use a utility knife to cut away the paint and free the cover.

Plug-in Connections

Some wall switches have small holes for the bare metal conductors. With this kind of switch, remove about 2.5 cm of insulation from the wire and put the bare wires into the holes. The tabs lock to make sure that the wires cannot fall out. It is then possible to release wires from the old switch by prying them out with a screwdriver.

Screw Terminals

Screw terminals are a better option than plug-in connections because they are more reliable. First remove the screws in preparation for connecting it with the wiring.

Making the Switch

After prepping the new switch, it is time to take the old one out of the wall with a screwdriver. Pull the box out of the wall. The set up depends on what kind of switch it is. The common single-pull switch has two screws with attached wires. If there are more screws, then it is a more complex system. If replacing a three-way switch that has three screws, the homeowner needs to make sure to match the wires to the same area on the new switch box. If replacing a screw terminal box, replace one wire at a time being sure to put all of the exposed wire under the screw. If putting in a plug-in switch box, trim the wires to leave about a centimetre bare and put the wires in the holes.

How to Buy Light Switches on eBay

When searching for a new light switch, you can find everything you need on eBay. The site offers a number of different ways to search, but a keyword search is one of the easiest. You just need to type keywords into the search box and then browse through the results until you find what you want. Do not forget to use some of the other tools from eBay. The feedback tool is a great way to see what other buyers had to say about a certain type of light switch or a specific seller. You can always leave feedback after you have made a purchase. Simple home repair like replacing or fixing a light switch go a long way towards keeping your house in good repair without having to spend a lot of money on professional services.

Have something to share, create your own Guide... Write a Guide
Explore more Guides