How To Replace Wall Switches/Sockets

How To Replace Wall Switches/Sockets

Replacing the light switches and wall sockets is one of the most common works in a household. Why get an electrician for this and spend some heard earned money when you can do it yourself with the help of these simple guidelines?

Things Needed

Screw drivers

Wire stripper

Needle-nose pliers

Linemen’s pliers

Replacement switch or outlet and covers

Electrician’s tape

Wire connecters

Steps to Follow

  1. Turn off the circuit breaker. Alternate is to remove the fuse of the circuit which governs the switch or outlet to be replaced. Fuse boxes are typically located in stairwells, garages, basements, closets and other irregularly used places. Open the metal door of the box and turn the round looking fuse anti-clockwise to unscrew it. New houses have circuit breakers and appear like small light switches performing the same function as the fuse box. Depending on the position in which it was installed, the way to trip a circuit breaker is to move the switch-shaped button horizontally or vertically. Usually, an installer gives the home maker a list for guiding him or her to which breaker or fuse governs which light. If you do not have this, then turn off the power of the entire house.
  2. Remove the covering plate of the switch and usually there are two screws holding the plate in place. For wall outlet covers, you will see one screw in the middle of the cover.
  3. Now remove the switch which is held with two screws, one at each end.
  4. Remove the old switch and connect the new one. Older switches usually have two wires, one for the incoming and the other for the outgoing. Disconnect both wires, usually black and white, by making the screws loose through an anti-clockwise movement. Now connect the wires of the new switch to the screw terminals and make a loop with the use of the needle-nose pliers. Curl the loop in the direction in which the screw is tightened. Don’t over tighten it, don’t scratch the wire.
  5. Place the switch or outlet right back into the junction box and fix with new screws. Bend the wires before pushing the switch or outlet into the box so that they remain securely closed. This makes for a neat and clean job and ensures that the wires don’t get torn the next time someone opens the screws. Also, adjust the lever on the light switch. This will mean that when the lever is placed down, the light will remain off. If there are two or three locations from which the light is operated then the position of the lever will depend on the place it was accessed from the last time.
  6. Replace the switch or outlet cover. Turn on the electricity and if the problem was with your light switch or outlet, if should be working just fine now. If it isn’t, then there is some deeper problem for which you need to consult a professional.
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