How To Fix A Faulty Light Switch

Home Improvement Advice – Fixing Switches


An electrical light switch starts creating mess after sometime and replacement seems to be the only solution available. It is one of those tasks that you can complete without the need of a professional. Before you run ahead with the project, gather some information on replacing a faulty electrical light switch.

Switches are an integral component of almost all electronic devices – fans, televisions, sewing machines, blenders, and of course, lights. Without switches, these devices would be extremely non-functional and largely inefficient. Why? Because they could not be turned on an off, a most important function in any device. Though not simple, fixing switches yourself can be done. Always remember to get in touch with a professional if you’re unsure of anything and take the necessary safety precautions at all times.

How does a switch work? How does it malfunction?

If you’re going to be fixing switches, it is important to know how they work. A switch controls the flow of an electrical current. It usually has two functions – breaking the current (turns the device off) and completing the current (turns the device on). A switch can malfunction for two reasons – faulty contacts (the electric wiring that connects the circuit) or faulty housing (the outside structure of the switch).

To repair the switch, first test the switch and determine the problem, and second, fix the problem:


1. Take the appliance apart to allow access to the switch. To test or diagnose the switch, you will need to take apart the appliance. The first thing to do is unplug the appliance from all power sources for the time being – you do not want to be shocked while handing the electrical components of the appliance. If the switch is a light switch, turn off the power that controls that area of the home. This is done using your home’s circuit breaker. Now, take apart the appliance.

2. Fix the contacts. Sometimes, the only thing necessary is to repair the contacts. Now that you have your appliance disassembled look at your switch for any signs of the problem. If the contacts are dirty, clean them using an emery board and then double over with a soft cloth. If contacts are out of place, ease them back so that they are aligned.

3. If fixing the contacts isn’t possible, replace the switch. This is a several step process. You will remove the current switch and replace the wires from that switch into the new switch, in the same order they were on the former switch. Refer to further instructions from the switch and device.