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Electrical  /  March 31, 2023

Vancouver Electrician: Signs You Need to Replace a Lightswitch

Signs you need to replace a light switch

It has become so habitually ingrained for you to flip a light on when you enter a room, and to switch it off when leaving, that you probably do it multiple times a day without even thinking about it. The only time you notice a light switch is when it doesn’t respond the way you expect it to. Like any device that contains moving parts, light switches can wear out over time. When that happens, it is a good idea to call an electrician in Vancouver to have it replaced safely. A faulty light switch can be dangerous, but so can trying to replace it yourself.

Here are some signs that a particular light switch is on its last legs and needs to be replaced soon.

1. Noise

Light switches are meant to be quiet. At most, you may hear a slight click when you switch it on or off. If you hear other sounds when you turn the switch on or off, such as popping, snapping, or buzzing, it is time to call electrical repair services to have the switch checked out and, most likely, replaced.

Pay attention to any noise coming from dimmer switches. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are popular because they last a long time and are more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. However, dimmer switches were not designed to work with CFL bulbs. If you put CFL bulbs into lights connected to a dimmer switch, they will make a faint, high-pitched humming noise. CFL bulbs should not be used with dimmer switches unless they were specifically designed to be dimmable.

2. Warmth

A standard toggle switch, i.e., the one you flip on and off, should always be cool to the touch. If you detect warmth when you touch the plate or the switch itself, something is wrong. You should have the switch replaced right away, and in the interim, you should try to avoid using the switch, if possible.

Again, the rules for a dimmer switch are a little bit different. It is normal for a dimmer switch to warm up a little after it has been on for a while, and this is not cause for alarm. However, if a dimmer switch is warm after it has been off for a while, this indicates a problem that should be evaluated by a professional.

3. Sparks

It isn’t always a bad thing when a light switch sparks when you turn it off. When you flip a switch on, connections inside come together. Switching the light off pulls the connections apart again, which sometimes results in a load arc, a little spark you can see. However, if the switch sparks when the light goes on, if the spark is large, or if it is accompanied by an audible snap, those are all signs of a problem with your light switch that require replacement to fix it.

4. Dysfunction or Unreliability

Sometimes the behaviour of a light switch isn’t predictable or reliable. You may flip the switch and the doesn’t turn on unless you flip it on or off a few times, or it flickers a little bit before it turns on. The first thing to check in this situation is the light bulb. It is normal for fluorescent bulbs to flicker a little before they turn on. Incandescent bulbs may flicker or behave unpredictably right before they burn out. If changing the light bulb fixes the problem, there is no need for further concern. However, if the problems continue, it most likely means there is a problem with the connections and the switch needs to be replaced.

Hire an Electrician in Vancouver To Replace a Switch

Attempting an electrical repair yourself is very dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. Our electricians are fully qualified to perform the work safely and effectively. Learn more about our electrical repair services.

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