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Replacing Electrical Switches At Home

If a circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows each time you turn a switch on, there’s probably something wrong with the switch. You should consider replacing it for sure. There are quite a few switches to choose from, but the replacement procedure for all of them is pretty much the same. Sometimes, you could even consider substituting a different type of switch for a faulty one. For instance, you could replace a regular switch with a silent (mercury) type of switch.

The first thing you need to do is to turn off the electricity. You could remove the fuse, or you could trip the breaker on the circuit. Remove the screws that are holding the cover plate in place and then lift the plate off. Take the mounting screws, which hold the switch to the box, off and pull the switch out.

You should note the switch’s wiring carefully. It will vary depending on the location of the switch as compared to the circuit. The wiring for 3-way switches (where fixtures can be controlled from multiple locations) are a little more complex. So ensure the fresh switch is wired just how the faulty one was. If you have sufficient space, transfer a single wire from the old to new switch at a time so you get it right with little trouble. If you lack the space, use masking tape and a pen to label each wire so you know which one goes where.

Next, loosen the screws of the terminal and take out the wires from faulty switches. Put the loops around the screws on the fresh switch so that they can be tightened when you tighten the screws. Secure the loops around the screws using needle nose pliers. Make sure you tighten them firmly. Put the switch into the wall box and install the mounting screws. Fix the cover plate and restore electricity to the circuit by turning the circuit breaker on or replacing the fuse. Now check to see the switch is operating properly.

If you don’t want to go through this trouble, you could get back wired switches. They are the perfect replacement for most regular switches. The installation of these switches is pretty much the same as back wired outlets.

Now, dimmer switches will let you set the mood in a room using the lights. From a dramatic, soft glow to brilliant brightness and everything in between, all you need to do is turn a slider or knob. They also help you conserve energy when set at positions other than full power. The installation is pretty much the same except that the control knob needs to be pressed on after mounting the switch.

You don’t need to hire a professional. Use the above advice to replace all of those faulty switches in your home today.


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