Can anyone help me fix a lightswitch?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by PS Nystrom, Nov 20, 2001.

  1. PS Nystrom

    PS Nystrom Second Unit

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    The lightswitch in my bathroom is acting very funny and I want to try and fix it. Very occassionally when I flip the switch I get a loud pop and spark. Afterwards the switch looks like it's been burned. The lights still come on and everything, but I'm getting really nervous about flipping that switch.

    I took off the faceplate to get a better look at the switch and couldn't see any loose wires or anything. Oh yeah, I also turned off the electricity to the bathroom before-hand. I know to do at least that much! If I replace the switch box, would that fix the problem, or is the problem more serious than that?

    Thanks for any offerings of assistance,

    Pieter
     
  2. Andy_S

    Andy_S Second Unit

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    Switches are pretty easy to replace (and they're cheap!). If it's just a regular single switch, there are two wires. One coming in from the electrical source and the other goes out to the light. Imagine the switch is a draw bridge. When it's off, the bridge is up and no electricity can pass. When it's on, the bridge is down and current flows.
    Be sure to do this with the power shut off!
    The easiest thing to do is to
    A) Remove the wallplate, unscrew the two screws that hold the switch into the box, and pull the switch out and check the wiring. The two wires should be securely attached to the switch. They attach by either the screws on the sides or the holes on the back of the switch (most switches have both). Make sure they are in nice and tight and that the bare copper part of the wires aren't touching the box or surrounding wires.
    B) Go to the hardware store, buy a replacement switch, and then pull your old one out and hook the new one up exactly like the old one was hooked up. When you put the new one back in, make sure none of the bare copper wire is touching any surrounding wires or the sides of the box that the switch goes into.
    Again, be very careful and make sure the power is out!! If you don't feel comfortable doing this call an electrician.
     
  3. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    What often happens is a build up of substances, such as hair spray, inside the switch ignites when the power is applied.

    Changing the switch is very easy. Just make sure you turn off the power at the breaker, and tell everyone in the house not to turn the breaker back on!
     
  4. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    a good tip regarding the circuit breaker is to not only turn it off, but put a sign on it that says you are currently working on it and to not reset the breaker.

    this is very useful when you have roomates...trust me on this one.
     
  5. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    *In best Ralph Wiggum voice* "Electricity tickles."
    I speak from experience. [​IMG] Andy gave some good instruction. Light switches are very cheap and very easy to change.
     
  6. PS Nystrom

    PS Nystrom Second Unit

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    Oh yeah! I fixed it! I am now a MAN! Thanks everyone,

    Pieter
     
  7. Andy_S

    Andy_S Second Unit

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    Did you replace the switch or was it a loose wire??
     
  8. PS Nystrom

    PS Nystrom Second Unit

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    Not only did I replace the light-switch, but I now have one of those fat, slick toggle switches instead of the small old-school ones. Even better, the switch has this faint little glow when turned off so that you can see it in the dark! I love America!
    However, there was a horrible downside to all this. After shutting off the house's electricity I went around and reset all the digital clocks. Too bad when I reset my alarm clock I did the old 6:30 PM instead of 6:30 AM flub and was a good hour and a half late for work! Fortunately today was an inservice day so no one really missed me.
    Pieter
     

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