White Plastic Light Switch

How to Change Your Electric Light Switch

If you’ve repainted your room a little too enthusiastically and your light switch is splattered with magnolia matt emulsion you don’t have to live with it – change it instead! Replacing a dirty, scuffed, cracked or worn light switch is surprisingly simple.

True your parents probably told you never to mess with electrics but now you’re all grown up it’s within your discretion to completely ignore them. Plus you won’t be going it alone. We’ve got the information here to let you replace your switch simply, swiftly and most importantly of all safely.

So on the topic of safety here’s when not to change the light switches in your home.

When they’re faulty – The guide below is for changing your switches, not fixing them. We urge you to hire a tradesperson if your switch is playing up.

When it’s against regulations set by your local council – Ensure you’re up to date with rules and regulations in your area. A humble light switch is not worth getting in trouble over!

When you feel unsure or uncomfortable – Working with home electrics can be dangerous. Read our article, watch our video and if you’re still not confident in your ability to carry out this fix, leave it to the professionals!

Row Of Hanging Light Bulbs

How Many People Does It Take to Change a Light Switch?

Just one as long as he or she follows our ten steps!

  1. Turn off the power to your light switches via your fuse box. (Let everyone else in the house know what you’re doing; you don’t want a “helpful” housemate switching the fuse back on halfway through!)
  2. Undo the two screws at the front of the light switch.
  3. Remove the front of the switch plate to see the wires behind it.
  4. Take a moment to check there’s no electric current coming into the switch at this point using a multimeter. (The reading should not change when one probe is placed on the earth wire and the other probe on the live wire.)
  5. Note the position of each wire before unscrewing them and any markings on the switch which may help you to position the wires on your new switch. You may find taking a photo on your phone helpful.
  6. Unscrew each wire and screw it into the new switch one at a time.
  7. Once the wires are connected give them a tug to ensure they’re firmly in place.
  8. When changing from a plastic to a metal switch plate the earth wire must be connected. You may have to cut back the insulation on the wire to expose the copper wire itself.
  9. Push the switch back into the wall (making sure not to trap the wires).
  10. Screw the switch into the wall and turn the fuse back on to check your new light switch is working correctly.

See Mat demonstrate these steps in action:

[video_embed src=LyTh1-1YKkU]

If you’d like to have a go changing your switches you can find a range of different light switch plates to suit your home on our site.

Now you know how to replace light switches you may want to replace your sockets to match. Luckily we’ve got a how-to guide for that too! So it’s easy with eSpares to light up your day and bring power to your home!


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