Replacing Light Switches - October 17th 2014
Q: We are having a problem with one of our light switches. It seems that every time we turn on the light, the circuit breaker trips. What should we do?
A: If a circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows every time you turn on a switch, the switch is probably to blame and should be replaced.
Although there are many different types of switches, the replacement procedure is similar for most of them.
Before you begin, make sure the electricity is turned off by either removing the fuse or tripping the breaker serving that circuit.
Remove the two screws holding the cover plate and lift off the plate. Remove the mounting screws holding the switch to the wall box and pull out the switch.
Before going any further, carefully note the wiring of the old switch. If this is a three way-switch - where a fixture can be controlled from two separate locations - the wiring will be somewhat more complex, so make sure the new switch is wired in the same way as the faulty one. If space permits, transfer one wire at a time from the old to the new so that you get them right. Perhaps it would be a good idea to take a picture with your cellphone for easy reference.