March 31, 2023
How to Fix a Light Switch
As you leave the room and switch off the lights, you notice that the switch is unusually warm to the touch. You’ve recently noticed the lights flickering or buzzing, too. What causes these issues and what should you do about them?
If you’ve noticed any of these things, do not ignore them. These are signs of electrical issues in your home that could be a serious safety hazard and cause a fire. It’s important that you have a licensed electrician replace affected switches and ensure that your home’s electrical system is safe.
3 Causes of A Warm Light Switch
Usually, heat is the result of excess power traveling through your circuit. Overtime, this heat can damage the insulation around wires and become a greater hazard. Here are three situations that could explain why your light switch is hot:
1. Your Light Switch is Failing
Light switches wear out over time. Older switches may not be able to handle updated amperage and the electrical contacts will emit a small spark whenever you turn the light off and on. It is important to regularly replace old light switches with amp appropriate models.
2. Your Wiring is Faulty
A light switch will become hot if it was improperly wired. The light might still function due to wires that are slightly touching. However, the electricity will have to travel through a smaller path which creates heat. Older wiring within your home could also be the culprit. Never attempt to rewire a switch with the power on. Always call a licensed professional.
3. Your Switch is Overloaded
Light switches have a limit on how much power they can handle. Different switches are meant to handle different levels of power. Your switch may become hot if it’s pulling too many amps. Many circuits are pulling 20 amps when most wall switches are only rated for 15. Dimmer switches diminish some of the power to lessen the light output and may be slightly warm as a result. If you discover an overly hot light switch when your dimmer is on, it’s time to replace it.
Is A Hot Light Switch A Sign of Other Electrical Problems in My Home?
A light switch that’s hot to touch is one of many signs that point to a potentially bigger problem. Chances are, you’ve noticed some other electrical issues in your home as well. Here are a few related issues to look out for.
- Flickering lights could happen when the wiring doesn’t support the light bulb you’ve installed. If this happens when operating other devices like a mixer, your circuit is probably overloaded.
- Discoloring on outlet covers happens when the wiring to the outlet is failing. If you have outlets that don’t work, you likely have a bigger electrical issue.
- Sparking at the outlet can indicate problems in the wiring behind the outlet.
- Tripped circuits occur when you’re trying to draw more power than the circuit can handle. It may be time to upgrade your electrical panel.
- Fuse boxes are a sign of an outdated and potentially hazardous electrical system. Consider investing in a much safer electrical panel that matches your home’s power needs.
Keep Your Home’s Electrical Safe
If you need light switch replacement or if you’re experiencing any of these other electrical issues in your home, get in touch with the professional electricians at Applewood today. Wiring issues are one of the main causes of electrical fires but they can be easily prevented by identifying the warning signs and making the necessary repairs. Schedule your electrical service today.