How to Replace a Broken Light Switch

Do you have a broken light switch at home? You don’t have to wait for an electrician to fix it. It’s actually quite easy to repair a broken light switch.

A lot of people are afraid of replacing a broken light switch due to a possible electric shock but when precautions are being taken, it’s quite easy.

7 Warning Signs Your Light Switch Is Broken

These are some of the warning signs to watch out for to help you tell if your light switch is broken.

1. The Light Doesn’t Turn On

Sometimes, it’s easy to tell that the light switch is broken if the light obviously doesn’t turn on. However, that’s not always the case because the light bulb might be the one that’s busted.

To check, remove the light bulb and check with another line or use a table lamp. If it works, then the switch is faulty. You can also use another light bulb to check the line.

2. Light Fixture Flickers

If you notice that the light switch sometimes works but sometimes doesn’t, you should check again just like above.

Again, this could be a problem with the bulb. But if you checked the bulb and it works fine, then it’s the switch.

You can double-check by putting a new light bulb.

3. The Switch Sparks

This can be scary at times when you see sparks flying off the switch when you try to turn it on.

This can be a serious problem, especially if you notice scorch or burn marks on the switch! Immediately replace the light switch if that happens.

Don’t wait until something bad happens (like your house burning to the ground!)

4. Noisy Switch

You might notice that the switch might make a buzzing, popping, or clicking sound while the light is on. This can be accompanied by flickering lights.

You can try turning it on and off several times. If the sound persists, it’s time to change the switch.

5. The Switch Feels Warm

Standard light switches should always feel cool – it’s usually the light bulb that turns hot. A dimmer switch can also feel warm, but a regular light switch should feel warm at all.

If your standard light switch feels warm to touch, it’s a good idea to replace it ASAP.

6. The Switch Feels Loose

If you notice that the switch is losing its snappy feel and might seem loose, it might also be time to replace it.

7. The Cover Is Cracked Or Broken

While a cover is more of a cosmetic addition, a broken or cracked one can expose the wires underneath – and that could be dangerous. Replace the cover and check if there’s anything inside that also needs to be replaced.

What You’ll Need

Most of the time, these will be the things that you’ll need:

  • Flathead or Phillips screwdriver (check your switch)
  • Voltage tester
  • Replacement light switch

Determine the replacement light switch you need so you can purchase the right one. Here’s a handy picture guide from

  • Four-way
  • Three-way
  • Double pole
  • Single pole
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How to Repair a Broken Light Switch

Step 1. Cut off the power source to the switch before making any repairs. You can turn off the circuit breaker for the lights in that section or choose to turn off the main breaker just to be sure.

Step 2. Depending on the type of light switch you have, you might need a flathead or Phillips screwdriver to remove the switch plate from the wall.

Step 3. Use the voltage tester to double-check and make sure that there’s no current in that switch.

Step 4. Unscrew the switch from its place in the junction box.

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Step 5. Disconnect the wires by unscrewing the screws at the side of the switch.

Step 6. Remember which wire goes to which terminal. If you’re not sure that you’ll remember, get a masking tape to put a label on before removing the whole thing.

Step 7. Get the replacement switch and place it in position in the same way as the broken one. Match up the wires and screw them in place.

Step 8. Push the switch into the junction box and screw it securely.

Step 9. Put the switch plate back in place. Again, screw it tightly and securely.

Step 10. Turn on the circuit breaker and check if the new light switch works.

Here’s a handy video you can use as a guide:

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