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Electric Switches Installation

Several factors can affect the cost of an Electric Switches Installation. A new switch may require rewiring to ensure that the wires are safe and properly connected. This process involves loosening the screws that hold the terminal wires and disconnecting them.

In most cases, a single-pole switch will have two black (hot) wires connecting to the terminal screws, as well as a green or bare copper ground wire.

Wiring

A switch works by closing to interrupt the flow of electricity through a metal pathway when it’s in the ON position and opening to allow it to continue flowing when the switch is in the OFF position. Eventually, that pathway or the springs that operate it can wear out, and you’ll need to replace the switch.

Before you install the new switch, shut off the power to the circuit that feeds it at the breaker box. Use a noncontact voltage tester to confirm the power is completely off. If it is, remove the switch’s two screws that hold it to the box and carefully pull it out of the wall.

Examine the wires for signs of damage or deterioration. If they’re frayed, strip off about 3/4 inch of insulation and clip off the bare end with wire cutters or a multi-tool. Then inspect each wire end for a hook-like loop and connect it to the terminal screw of the same color on the new switch.

Connect the black wires to the switch’s common terminals (usually black or copper). Since one of those is now your hot wire, mark it with a piece of black electrician’s tape or paint at both ends to identify it as the hot wire. The other black wire should connect to the opposite traveler terminal in the first switch box and the same terminal on the second switch box. The shortest ground wire gets connected to the green screw terminal in the second switch box.

Installation

A light switch is an essential home fixture, but over time, the metal pathway it closes to interrupt the flow of electricity can wear out. When this happens, you’ll need to replace the switch. You can do this by shutting off power to the circuit breaker (or fuse) box, unscrewing the old switch from the electrical box, and transferring the wires to the new switch. Before beginning, make sure you have the correct wiring diagram for your new switch to avoid miswiring it.

When the power is off, remove the faceplate from the switch and disconnect the cable cores from the terminal screws. Then, match up the screw connectors on the new switch with those on the existing one to find where to transfer the wires. It’s a good idea to unscrew and disconnect just one wire at a time, rather than all of them, because it gives you a chance to compare the colors on the ends of each wire.

Connect the black wires from each of the cables to their respective terminal screws on the new switch. You’ll also need to connect the bare copper or green grounding wire to its corresponding screw on the switch. This is typically done with a twist-on wire connector, or “wire nut,” which you can buy at any hardware store.

Testing

A switch functions like a dam in a river; it holds current back or allows it to pass through. Whenever you have to deal with a switch, assume there’s electricity flowing through it unless you shut off the power at the circuit breaker or fuse feeding the switch. Before you remove the screw covering the switch box, use a noncontact voltage tester to touch each of the wire terminals inside the box and to test all three of the side terminals on the switch. If the tester lights up, return to the service panel and shut off the breaker serving the switch.

In the switch box, you’ll usually find a pair of white (neutral) wires connected to one another in the same way and covered with a wire nut. There’s also a black wire connected to a black or copper screw terminal—this is the common wire, so it needs to be distinguished from the other wires in the box by a piece of electrical tape or black paint to indicate it carries current. You should also find a red and a ground wire connected to one another within a single wire nut.

Connect the ground wire to the shortest of the two screw terminals on the switch. Connect the other end of the ground wire to the bare copper or green grounding wires in the circuit by twisting them together and securing them with a wire connector. Reinstall the switch cover plate and tuck the wires neatly into the electrical box, then mount the switch to the box with its mounting screws. Turn the power back on to the circuit by switching on the breaker or reinstalling the fuse.

Maintenance

A switch has a metal pathway that closes to allow current to pass when in the ON position and opens to interrupt the flow of electricity when it is switched off. Over time this pathway and the springs that operate it can wear out. When this occurs the switch may not work as it should and will need to be replaced. Regular use of a switch keeps the contacts clean and reduces the risk of contact oxidation. During an automatic transfer switch maintenance cycle you will be able to determine if any of the contacts need replacement.

Single-pole switches are common throughout homes and receive constant use. They tend to wear out in five to 20 years depending on quality and frequency of use. Replacing a standard switch is one of the easiest home electrical repair jobs, but even this job comes with some risk of shock.

Shut off power to the switch circuit by switching off the appropriate breaker in your service panel (or fuse box if you still have fuses). Remove the cover plate from the switch and disconnect the wires from the terminals on the back of the switch.

Some switches have push-in wire connectors at the terminal screws; if this is the case, you can release them by inserting a small screwdriver in the slot next to each connection. Pull the connector off and strip about 3/4 inch of insulation from each end of the wires, using wire strippers if necessary. Each end of each wire should have a hook-like loop that can wrap around the terminal screw to secure it by the electrician ca.

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