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How to replace a Light Switch

Hey guys!  It’s Mike from The Geek Pub, and on this episode I’m going to show you how to replace a broken light switch.  Now, in this episode we’re going to replace a standard switch, but if you have a three-way switch (that’s a light switch that’s controlled by multiple switches), look for that in a future video and we’ll show you how to do that there.  Also, be aware that this is a dimmer switch we are replacing, and we’re going to replace it with another dimmer switch.  However, I’ll show you the differences as we go along.

The first step in replacing our light switch is to locate and turn off the breaker for the room.  Do not try to replace the switch with the power on.

Now, using a flathead screwdriver remove the faceplate screws and set them aside for re-use. Then gently remove the faceplate.

Using a phillips-head screwdriver, remove the two screws that hold the switch in its box. Then gently pull the switch out of the box.

OK.  So now that we have our wiring exposed, I think this is a good time to talk about a couple of things.  So number one is:  This is a dimmer switch, and as we mentioned before it is connected by wire nuts and wires, rather than screw terminals.  And if you have screw terminals on your light switch, I highly recommend that you go ahead and use those.  They’ll carry more amperage and if you’re connecting something like a vacuum cleaner it will be safer.  It’s fine for light fixture like this.

The second thing is:  We turned the breaker off.  And that’s important, but its also important to me to check it one more time with something called a voltage tick. I just put that in the box and you’ll see that there’s no beep.  If there was a beep and a light then you would know that there is still voltage in here and that it is not safe, but we’re good to go so let’s go ahead and continue the job.

Carefully, remove each wire nut from the green and black wires.  The green wire is your ground and the black wires carry your load.

Drop the old light switch in the trash.

Take the new light switch and connect the wires.  Green to green and black to black.  If your switch had only one black wire and a white wire, connect the white wire to either black wire on the switch.  If you have three blacks, or two blacks and white, stop.  This is a three way switch that we’ll cover in another video.

Make sure to tighten everything up, and then gently press the wires back into the wall box.

Then reinstall the screws that hold the switch in the box, followed by the decorative cover plate.  Be sure not to over tighten these screws, as it will crack the cover plate.

The final step is to return to the breaker panel and turn the room’s breaker back to the on position.

And let there be light.  And that’s all there is to replacing a light switch.  So, I would like to point out one thing that a lot of people miss though.  The slots on the screws should be up and down.  The reason why is, not only does it look nice, but when women turn the switch off, or on, their fingernails don’t get caught in the slots.  So just something you should be sure you do when you install your light switch.

Thanks for watching, and see you next time.

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