Changing a basic light switch

You might just turn on a switch to turn on your lighting. What if you think I want a new switch?

Changing a switch has some basic principles. 

Safety is something I try to always consider. Knowing where your electrical breaker is in the place you live is a good thing to know. Ours is in the front entrance behind the front door (I always thought it was so ugly). The next to learn is what breakers switch off power to switches, appliances and plugs.

Things you will need:

I keep the light on till I know what breaker turns off the light then I unscrew the cover plate. Once it is off there often are 2 more screws to undo. If your light switch mounts have been painted over you might want to take a razor blade and score the paint till you can pull the switch. Get the mounts as clean as possible, it doesn’t always come away as clean as I would like. The last thing you want to do is repair damage to the surface of the wall. 

When you can get the switch to move you want to pull it out so you can see all the wires

The ones changed at our home had the wires poked into the back of the switch.

This is the back of the switch till now I could not see the words on the back, “Push to release” NOW If I could have read that before struggling. I’m new to changing electrical switches and plugs.
My partner is teaching me
I did this one alone and broke it.

Before you disconnect the old switch grab the voltmeter, turn it to the lowest ohms setting. I think that is 200. This is to test what position the switch will be on and off. When I changed out the switches, I wanted the on position to be up and the off to be down. So you put the two prongs on to the two screws and if you get a number reading that is on, when there is no reading then that is the off position. 

Now on with getting the switch off. There are many ways to do this. There is the easy way of using your wire cutter/stripper. If you have enough wire to do that and still reattach your wires to the switch, then cut it and re-strip the wire. When you strip the plastic casing off be careful to only cut the plastic then strip that off. It will be a pain if you cut through the wires again. How to change a light switch.

Way two to get the switch off is the way I did mine, lots of stomping my feet and growling! I said nasty things to my wires. This is where you hold the switch firmly in one hand and the pliers in the other grab one of the wires and wiggle and pull it for the back Then have your hand slip loose grip if the pliers drop them on your toe, scream cuss your in bare feet bend down grab them say more choice word to this piece of junk and think I should have just left the bloody thing in the wall. For the next 10 mins this craziness continues. Finally you reef the wires out and hear plastic breaking. Well good thing it is being changed! So now your wires are out it is time to take the last wire off with a screwdriver that is called the ground, it is what helps your connection be safer. Many light switches do not have a ground.

Time to get the new one in, my switches had two screws on the side and the green screw for the ground at the bottom, I put the ground on first. Use your needle nose pliers to make a hook curve on your wires you will likely only need to do that to the two that are going to the side screws. You will want to hook that around one of the screws. It will not matter if it is the top of the bottom screw, it will complete the circuit once you connect them. I hold the wire tight then the hook is under the screw and then keep it tight as I tighten the screw. (My neighbor told me there is a way to put them in to hold it tight, I forgot the details) Before you tighten in place, move the wire so it fits in the little indent in the plastic. Do the same on the other side. Bend your wires back into the holding mount (I find that a little hard so I use the pliers to bend the wires). Line up the holes of the mount and the switch then put the mounting screws back in. This can be a bit finicky. Keep trying and don’t force anything. If it is aligned it should not be too hard. Put your cover plate back on, the screws are short so they don’t take much. Time to go turn on the breaker and test your new switch.

My neighbor also shared that using the screws, not the push holes in the back give you better conductivity. So it is a better and safer way to connect your switch.

Have you changed a switch? Do you have any tips on changing out a switch? If you are not comfortable changing your switches or if there is something different in the light, you might want to call in someone with more experience.

Looking forward to reading your comments.