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The Hidden Dangers in Your Home’s Light Switch Wiring

It can look like an innocent and indispensable little part of your home, and while you probably don’t often pay attention to the light switches found in pretty much every room of your house, you, in fact, should implement regular inspections of these light switch wiring. Why? Because believe it or not, these light switches, when they malfunction, can lead to surprising dangers in your home. Often these dangers are caused by issues with the light switch wiring and hence this is the reason you need a residential electrician.

What are the different types of light switch wiring?

There are essentially three kinds of light switch wiring. The simplest and most basic one is a single light switch that only has one switch that turns on and off. Another is a three-way light switch where you can control the light fixture using two switches found in different locations. Usually these are used for light fixtures above staircases where one switch is located upstairs and the other light switch is located downstairs. Finally, there is the four-way light switch that allows more than 2 switches to turn a light fixture on and off, and is ideal for wide spaces in a home that have multiple entry points like a living room.

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What are the warning signs of faulty light switch wiring?

Inspect the light switches in your home and watch out for these indications:

  1. Inspect the collar of the light fixture or light fitting. If the collar shows any sign of damage, like burn marks, multiple visible cracks, and normal signs of wear and tear.
  2. Look into the cable end connecting to the light fitting. Are there any exposed wires showing, and coloured wires that are visible?
  3. Check for any kind of burnt smell within the light switch wiring.
  4. Listen for any clicking sounds that could indicate that there could be loose connections within the light switch wiring.  The clicking sound comes from “jumping” electricity that makes the cable inside the screw terminals shake and wobble.

Here are a few more safety reminders when it comes to light switches and light switch wiring:

  1. If you are redecorating your home and want to simply replace the light switch covers, you still need to turn off the breaker for the circuits serving those light switches. Carefully unscrew the covers and pull these covers away from the wall. Reattach your new covers and ensure they are securely screwed before you turn on the breaker again.
  2. If you notice that the screw terminals on your light switches are loose, don’t secure them by using a regular screwdriver, as this can be dangerous! Instead, it is highly recommended that you use VDE screwdrivers, which can protect from up to a thousand volts that can be seriously harmful to you.

As with most matters concerning electricity in your home, should you feel you are not up to DIY any work that needs to get done on your light switch wiring, don’t hesitate to call your friendly neighbourhood electrician to get emergency electrical services done for you.


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