Replacing or Mounting a Light Switch

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Light switches do wear out quickly due to their everyday use. As such, they often require regular replacements. This article provides tips from a lighting electrician as regards how to set up or replace a faulty light switch. Homeowners who are do-it-yourself enthusiasts can benefit greatly from the following sound advice.

Do note that prior to replacing a light switch, lighting electricians first switch off the voltage to the circuit. This is because they run the risk of electrocution when working on a live circuit. Additionally, make sure that the new switch that's about to be installed has the same amp and voltage ratings as the old switch.


  1. Once the power to the light switch is shut off, the lighting electrician uses a screwdriver to take out the plastic faceplate and unbolt the current light switch from the electrical box. The switch is pulled outwards without making contact with any exposed or naked wires. The electrician normally uses an electrical tester to establish whether the wires connected to the existing switch are energised or live. A probe is placed on the bare ground wire in the electrical box while another probe is placed on all the wired terminal screws of the light switch. No power should be noted.
  2. Next, the electrician uses a screwdriver to detach the wires from the existing switch. In case the wires are attached to terminal screws, rotate the screws anticlockwise to make them loose and detach the wires.
  3. Next, make straight or cut off off the ends of the circuit wires that are meant to be connected to the switch. Lighting electricians often use wire strippers to take half an inch of insulation away from the wire ends.
  4. The electrician disentangles the green grounding screw of the terminal on the switch and, by means of needle-nose pliers, rotates the green grounding wire from the circuit in a clockwise manner around the terminal, and screws it tighter to fasten the wire in place.
  5. In a similar fashion, circuit wires are also looped in a clockwise manner around the terminal screws and the screws tightened.
  6. Next, the electrician installs the switch right section up. To start with, the circuit wires at the rear of the switch are folded and the switch is cautiously pushed into the electrical box. After that, the light switch is aligned vertically by fine-tuning the screws in the installation slots. The switch is tightly screwed to the box followed by screwing the faceplate onto the switch.
  7. Once the circuit is switched back on, the light bulb should work signifying that the light switch is functioning.

For more information, contact A.J. Palmer Electrical.