Light switches are frequently used in the home. Being used thousands of times a year, it will eventually fail and require replacing. Where some signs are clear, such as an audible snap, crackle, or pop when you flip the switch indicating it is time to replace it, other symptoms can be overlooked easily. Today, we at Burley Electrical Services would like to elaborate more on the bad light switches.
Causes of a Bad Light Switch
Light switches have several moving parts, like any devices. They wear down over time, frequently, the plastic parts may break, and the connections can become loose. Eventually, all light switches will need to be replaced.
Signs a Light Switch Needs to Be Replaced
A clear sign that light switch has died is when you’ve put a fresh light bulb in the fixture, but the lights won’t turn on. Below are a few signs that the light switch is beyond its prime.
1). Sparking light switch. You may see a small spark when you flip the light switch off on occasion. When the connections within the light switch are pulled away from one another, which is called a load arc. The light switch is bad if there are large sparks that make an audible snap. Especially if see smoke or scorch marks, you need to replace the light switch.
2) Faulty light fixture. Before turning on, the flicker for moment happens occasionally, and putting in a new light bulb doesn’t fix the flicker. The proper connections are not being made within the light switch and it’s time for a new switch if this occurs.
3) Abnormal sounds in the switch. Light switches don’t make any noise when working properly. Something within the switch is not working properly if you start to hear any clicking, buzzing, or popping coming from the switch. You need to replace the switch.
4) Switch is unusually warm. You may notice that it feels a little warm to the touch after having been on for a while when turning a dimmer switch off, which is normal. It is not normal for a standard toggle light switch to warm up, however. Light switches should continue to always feel cool. It’s time for a new one if a switch feels warm.
Testing a Switch with a Multimeter
A multimeter is a handheld testing device used to measure electrical voltage. Electricians and contractors use them to troubleshoot problems on motors, appliances, circuits, power supplies, wiring systems, and more. You can use a multimeter to verify whether a light switch is functioning normally.
1) To the light switch being tested, turn off the circuit breaker that delivers power.
2) Remove the original light switch.
3) Depending on the model you have, turn on the multimeter and put it on the Continuity or Ohms setting.
4) Find out if you have a single-pole switch or a three-way switch. Single-pole switches have two side terminal screws and may have a ground screw near one of the ends. A three-way switch will have a dark-colored screw and two normal side terminals.
5) Touch one multimeter lead to each of the side terminals to test a single pole light switch. The multimeter should show a reading of 1 when you flip the switch on.
6) Hold one multimeter lead to the common screw and touch the other lead to one of the travelers to test a three-way switch. The multimeter should show a reading of 1 when you flip the switch on. Afterwards, touch the second lead to the other traveler to test it as well.
7) In the event the test fails, the light switch needs to be replaced.