Home appliances can be taken for granted, especially if they are immediately accessible. No matter where you live, you’ll have a few, key fixtures that are important for life. Although you may not realize it, the various light switches in and around your home are vital. They may seem invulnerable, but, as with many things in life, they may not be.
A bad light switch can make or break your living experience, no matter where you are. At best, it might just be annoying to have to deal with, while it may not work at all at worst. Thankfully, there are a few, common fixes that can be used in order to fix the switch entirely.
Here are several ways on how to tell if a light switch is bad:
1. Test the light switch
Testing is the best way is to tell if a light switch has gone bad. The best way to determine this is to shut the breaker off in your home. After this has been done, turn your attention to light switch cover plate. A preliminary test on its power will have to be done.
Unscrew the cover plate, and ensure that you have a non-contact voltage tester on hand. This important tool will allow you to test each wire in the electrical box. If there is any noticeable voltage, you’ll have to go back to the breaker and turn the correct one off. Retest again until there is no voltage present.
2. Check if the light switch is working
There also exists noticeable signs that can indicate to you whether or not your light switch has gone bad. One of the most obvious signs of this is when your light switch decides to work some days, and not on others. The light switch in question here may also take some time to actually turn on after being flipped.
It all comes down to the connections inside of the light switch itself. Sometimes the connection of the wires may not be tied together, which results in a faulty switch. You could fix the wiring here yourself, if you are careful and know how to conduct the motion. Otherwise, it would be best to leave it to professional electricians.
3. Light switch sparking
In one of the more potentially dangerous circumstances, your light switch may give off random sparks. While it may not be cause for concern at the onset, repeated electrical sparks could prove to be harmful. In the most common scenarios, sparks can come about when you switch the light off.
This comes down to what is known by electricians as a load arc. Connections within the light switch are actually being pulled away from one another, once the switch is turned off. Larger sparks are a good indicator of the switch being in a bad state of condition. It is, therefore, time to get yourself a new one as soon as possible.
4. Light switch is warm to touch
While it is a less common occurrence in most faulty light switch circumstances, it isn’t improbable. A good sign that your light switch is going bad comes from touching the surface of it. After turning your switch off that has been on for a while, place your fingertips on it.
Generally, it is normal for it to feel warm in the immediate aftermath of turning it off. However, if you have turned the light switch off after some time has elapsed, and it’s still warm, there may be an issue. Light switches should always feel cool when you touch them; warmer ones could be problematic.
5. Noisy light switch
Most, if not all, of your home appliances should be completely silent when they are off. Once they are turned on, there could be a noticeable, humming sound, indicating that it’s working. Anything that sounds noisy to the point of being annoying, you’ll have to do some inspection.
The same sentiment applies to your light switch as well. These annoying, audible noises can come in the form of buzzing, or a distinct popping noise once the switch is turned on. If the noise persists, be sure to call a professional electrician to get it checked out!
6. Awkward light switch toggle lever
You may not initially realize it, but the most basic test to conduct has to do with simply turning it on. If the toggle lever of your light switch feels awkward, it could be a bad sign. It could feel like it requires more effort to switch on, indicating that the switch mechanism has worn out. As a result, it should be replaced.
The light switches in and around your home should always be in good working condition. However, time will eventually wear down these appliances, which could make them awkward to use. Should any of these signs become apparent, examine it further before replacing it!