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Is Your Light Switch Not Working? 5 Common Reasons That May Happen

hand-turning-in-light-switch

Did you know that wiring issues and other electrical problems are some of the most common contributors to home fires?

Did you also know that one of the most common signs that you’re dealing with an electrical situation is a malfunctioning light switch?

If you want to keep your home and your family safe from potential fires, you need to make sure your light switches are working in the proper way.

Is your light switch not working? There’s no need to panic just yet. However, you should get to the root of the problem as soon as you can.

Listed below are some common causes of this malfunction, along with tips on how you can correct them.

Reasons Your Light Switch Won’t Work

There are a lot of reasons why you may be dealing with a malfunctioning light switch. The following are some of the most common:

1. Broken Mechanism

replace light switch

A broken mechanism is often responsible when a light switch isn’t working. In these cases, the only way to solve the matter is to replace the light switch altogether (you’ll learn more about that in a minute).

Common signs that you’re dealing with a broken mechanism include the light not turning on (no matter how often you flick the switch) as well as the switch head not staying in place.

2. Fuse Burnout

checking-tripped-breaker-panel

Fuse burnout and tripped circuit breakers can contribute to light switch malfunctioning, too.

Because of this, it’s important to take a look at your circuit breaker before you go ahead and buy a whole new light switch. Sometimes, you can replace a fuse and correct the situation.

There is a caveat here, though. If you notice that you often have burned-out fuses, you may want to reassess the amount of power you’re using to avoid overloading the wiring in your house.

3. Loose Wire

light-switch-wiring-wall

Many people who are dealing with light switch problems complain of flickering lights.

Sometimes, the issue here is the lightbulb, rather than the light switch.

If you’ve already tightened the bulb and still have flickering, though, you could have a loose wire that’s the source.

A loose wire under the light switch plate, in particular, can often be the culprit.

4. Hot or Buzzing Switch

If you notice that your light switch has a buzzing or humming sound coming from it, that’s a sign of a more serious matter. The same goes for a light switch that’s hot to the touch.

Even if your light switch is technically still working, you could have a fire hazard.

Address it as soon as you can (a loose wire or overloaded breaker usually causes this) to avoid trouble later.

5. Faulty Circuit Cable

testing-broken-light-switch-wire

Finally, your malfunctioning light switch could be the result of a fault circuit cable.

You can use a circuit tester to assess your light switch and see if there are any interrupted connections causing your light switch to not work properly.

If this is the case, you likely have a faulty circuit cable and need to call an electrician (there are a lot of things you can handle on your own, but some require a professional’s touch to get right).

How to Fix Your Light Switch

If you’re dealing with any of these issues, the good news is that you can often correct them fairly easily on your own.

Here are some steps to take to get your light switch (or switches) working again:

1. Gather Your Supplies

tools for light switch

If you decide that you want to try and tackle the problem on your own, start by making sure you have all your supplies at the ready.

The following are some key tools you’ll need to address your light switch woes:

  • Circuit tester
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers

In most cases, this is all you need. Chances are you already have most, if not all, of these supplies at your disposal!

2. Safety First

Once you have everything you need, take precautions to protect yourself when dealing with electrical-related repairs. This includes cutting power to the light switch by turning off your circuit breaker.

Make sure your wires are capped, too, and mark the one you’re going to be working with using a piece of electrical tape.

3. Identify the Problem

checking circuit breaker

Now, it’s time to identify what’s gone wrong. If you’ve checked the circuit breaker and have ruled out a blown fuse, your next step is to use the circuit tester to identify whether or not a faulty circuit cable is a part of the problem.

If you don’t notice any issues here, you may need to take off the switch cover to get a closer look.

4. Consider Replacing the Switch

Depending on what you find when you take off the switch cover, you may need to replace the light switch altogether. This process is fairly straightforward.

You’ll start by removing the light switch from the wall (including the wires that are hooked up to it).

Then, you’ll take the new light switch and screw it in place, taking care to ensure all the wires attached match up to the ones in your wall.

Once all the wires are paired, you can screw the new light switch cover onto your wall and turn the power back on.

5. Know When to Call for Help

light switch electrician

If you don’t feel confident replacing a light switch or handling any aspect of this process, don’t hesitate to call a master electrician and have them come take care of the problem for you.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when you’re dealing with electrical projects.

Light Switch Not Working? Fix It Today!

Is your light switch not working? If you’ve been stuck with a temperamental or straight-up dysfunctional light switch for a while now, give these tips a try today.

They’ll help you correct the problem and bring light back into your home!

Do you want to learn more about fixing broken or damaged items around your house such as a fluorescent light not working all the time or when all the outlets stop working on one wall? If so, give some of our home repair articles a read today.

You’ll be amazed at how many issues you can solve when you check out our resources.

Sharing is Caring!

Joyce Minkley

Thursday 24th of February 2022

The flat toggle came loose from the box, there’s a metal 2 prong insert and a little spring that fits into the back of it but while they fit, they won’t stay in place for me to snap it back in. Does this mean I need to replace the whole switch, I guess? Looks like it should just snap back in place. Also, when I turned iff circuit breaker to bathroom, the light over the tub did not go out? Where else could the circuit breaker be tied to?

David

Friday 30th of July 2021

Hi, my light switch is getting power (light from dimmer switch is on) but my lights are not working. Changed bulbs and still no power to lights. Could you advise?

Thank you

Scott Miller

Tuesday 18th of May 2021

I had a "faulty" dimmer switch. Appeared to be dead. I moved the wires from the press in ports to the screws and it fixed it.... Not sure how the press ins would suddenly go bad but that was the issue.


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