How to replace your light switch by yourself?

Nina Smith

Nina Smith

Nina is a writer with more than 5 years of experience. She is experienced in such topics as home warranty and home maintenance. She enjoys giving a piece of helpful advice, so don't hesitate to ask her in the comments.

light switch wiring

Hiring a technician for simple jobs that you can do yourself is an unnecessary increase in your home maintenance expenses. One such simple task is replacing your light switch. Usually, light switches are prone to damage and may stop working after a few years of use. Similarly, you may want to replace the light switch with a newer, fancier version. In all cases, read through this article to learn how to replace the light switch yourself, including:

  • Safety Precautions in Changing A Light Switch
  • How To Change The Light Switch?
  • Tightening the Wires
  • Types of Light Switches

Safety Precautions in Changing A Light Switch

Light switch wiring can play a huge part in protecting your light switch. For starters, ensure that separate batteries or breaker powers the alternate lighting in your house. In most cases, different rooms have separate breakers. However, this type of light switch wiring is not the norm and can vary between homes. Setting up alternate lighting is important so that you have light available during the replacement process. Similarly, have another persona available to stand near the breaker and turn it on/off as per requirement during the replacement of the light switch.

How to Change The Light Switch?

You can easily replace the light switch through the following steps:

  • First, remove the faceplate using a small screwdriver off the switch cover. Avoid using a power drill because of the excessive torque it projects.
  • Always test the light switch wires to ensure that there is no power in them. Use an electric meter tester even if you have turned off the breaker to ensure safety.
  • Pull out the switch after unscrewing it. Ensure you see the wires on both sides of the switch thoroughly because you would have to connect them back at the end. Doing this step incorrectly will cause a mess near the switch, and everything would have to be taken apart.
  • Use a small screwdriver to pull the wires out after loosening them. The second light switch wire has a pressure release. To remove this wire, press the square hole downward and remove the wire from its place. Mark the places for each wire using an electrical tape correctly after removing the wires.
  • Expose the wire by stripping back its coating. This way, installing the new light switch becomes easier. In some cases, you may have to find a smaller or larger wire based on the design and type of the new light switch. However, make sure that you do not damage the wire while trying to remove its coating.

Tightening the Wires

Tighten the wires inside the switch after the replacement is complete. However, ensure that some slack is left for any future replacement issues. Without enough slack, you would have to replace the entire wire system the next time any problem arises with the wires. Turn the breaker back on and check if the light turns on as well. If the light does turn on, the replacement has been successful. Always put back the faceplate using a small screwdriver. Using a power drill can cause cracks in its surface.

Types of Light Switches

You can choose from a range of light switches when replacing your current one.

  • Single or Double Pole Toggle Switch: This switch is the standard one we use in most homes. Usually, such a switch has an up and down function. Such switches have a simple two-way circuit and usually last a long-time without requiring any replacement.
  • Decorative Pole Switch: These switches have the same function as the pole toggle switch. However, they are turned on and off by pushing them from left to right instead of pushing them up and down.
  • Rocker Switch: Usually, these light switches are used in the industrial environment for multi-room or large-scale lighting. They do not offer any variant settings for light control. Instead, they are heavy-duty switches that are well-protected against damage. In most cases, they are colored with the color of the light they turn on and off.
  • Dimmable Light Switches: These switches offer a modern form of lighting in both home and professional settings. They allow you to increase or decrease the brightness and darkness of the light. Usually, you will find these switches in restaurants, classrooms, and meeting rooms.
  • Smart Switches: Due to the integration of smart home control technologies in modern home spaces, smart switches have become the new norm in the light switch. These switches are connected to computerized software and systems that can turn the light on and off, adjust their brightness, and do other related functions. Such switches can be controlled through voice recognition, your cell phone, and your computer system. You will find specific smart switches from Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa.


Replacing your light switch is an easy task if done properly. Follow the steps mentioned in this article to replace your light switch easily without requiring professional services.

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