Light switches are easy to take for granted. They get used thousands of times over the years, until one day they start to fail and need to be replaced. Some signs of a bad light switch are clear. For instance, if there is an audible snap, crackle, or pop when you flip the switch, it’s pretty obvious the switch is defective and it’s time to replace it with a new one.
Are you concerned about one or more of your light switches? Keep reading to learn how to diagnose light switch issues and what to do next.
Why Do Light Switches Go Bad?
Just like with any simple machine, over time, the moving parts wear down. Connections can become loose and plastic parts may break. Someday, each of your light switches will need to be replaced.
Four Signs It’s Time to Replace a Light Switch
When you’ve put a fresh light bulb in the fixture but the switch still doesn’t turn it on, that’s a clear sign that the light switch has died. Here are four more signs that a light switch has gone past its prime.
We’ve all had that one light switch that just doesn’t work right. Sometimes it turns on, sometimes it doesn’t. Occasionally it flickers for a second before turning on. And putting in a new light bulb doesn’t fix the flicker. If this is happening, the proper connections are not being made within the light switch and it’s time for a new switch.
The switch sparks
On occasion, you may see a small spark when you flip the light switch off. This is called a load arc, which happens when the connections within the light switch are pulled away from one another. If, however, there is a large spark that makes an audible “snap,” the light switch has gone bad. If this happens and you see smoke or scorch marks, it is definitely time to get a new light switch.
When working properly, light switches don’t make any noise. So, if you start to hear any clicking, buzzing, or popping coming from the switch, something within the switch is not working properly. It’s time to replace that switch.
Switch is warm
When turning a dimmer switch off, you may notice that it feels a little warm to the touch after having been on for a while. This is normal. However, it is not normal for a standard toggle light switch to warm up. These light switches should always feel cool. If a switch feels warm, it’s time for a new one.
Replacing a switch seems simple enough but can be tricky if you’re uncertain about the status of your wiring, your tools, your level of skill or experience, the electrical load on your system, or the age of the last work done in this part of your house. If you have any doubts, it’s best to schedule an appointment with an electrical professional. Not sure you’re ready to take on this DIY project yourself? No problem! The experienced professionals at Cathey Electric are ready to diagnose and resolve any problems you’re having with light switches. If you’re ready to upgrade to dimmer switches, do a routine replacement, or just need a helping hand, give us a call! We are here to help.