4 Common Light Switch Problems

Not all light switch problems require the assistance of an electrician. Often, a light switch does not work due to a busted light. There are also instances when a simple switch malfunction can lead to devastating consequences like a house fire. Below are some of the common problems that homeowners encounter when it comes to light switches.

1. Broken Light Switch Mechanism

Common switch problems include a broken mechanism. If the light does not turn on or off no matter how much you flick or turn the switch, and if you see that the switch head or toggle does not stay in place anymore, then it is time to replace the unit. If you do not have any background or experience in replacing switches, it would be best to hire an electrician or someone who has extensive knowledge of replacing light switches. There are countless cases where homeowners get burned or shocked while replacing light switches on their own.

2. Fuse Burnout or Circuit Breaker Trip

A man uses a light switch.

A fuse burnout or a trip in the circuit breaker can also cause problems in your light switch. If you experience switch problems, buying a new switch mechanism should not be the first thing you do. Make it a point to inspect your circuit breaker first and see if there are burned out fuses. If this is the case, simply replacing a fuse can remedy your problems with the switch. If you experience circuit trips and fuse burnouts often, you should lower the power load in your place.

3. Flickering of Lights

One problem that concerns many homeowners is the flickering of lights when the switch is turned on. Most of the time, this is due to a loose bulb. In this case, tightening the bulb is all you need to do. If the flickering continues even if all the bulbs in your home have been tightened, the culprit may be a loose wire underneath the switch plate or cover. This problem is best checked and resolved by an electrician, especially if you do not have basic knowledge of electrical safety and wiring. You should not simply ignore this problem because loose wiring or bare wires can cause electrical accidents or even house fires.

4. Overheating, Buzzing, or Glowing Switches

A light switch on a tiled background.

It is normal for dimmer switches to heat up and have a buzzing sound when in use. These symptoms should not cause any alarm. If you are using an ordinary toggle switch, though, a buzzing sound or the heating up and glowing of the switch is a sign that there is a loose wire somewhere or that your breaker is overloaded. In this case, you will need the help of an experienced electrician. If you continue to ignore these signs, the switch can overheat and become a fire hazard.

When inspecting, replacing, or fixing switch problems, it is important to take the necessary precautions like wearing rubber gloves and making sure that you are stepping on a dry area. Hire an electrician if you do not know anything about electrical wiring and switches.