Removal and replacement of interior light switches
Skill level: 2 – Intermediate
What you’ll need:
Step by step guide to replacing a light switch:
1. Firstly make sure that the lighting circuit you are working on is isolated from the main supply. Bear in mind most properties have 2 lighting circuits for each floor so where as one may be dead the other will still be live. The circuit can be isolated by turning off the circuit breaker in the fuse box. Ideally you should turn off the main switch especially if you are unsure of which circuit is which.
2. Carefully loosen the screws on the light switch. Bear in mind it may be stuck to the wall by paint etc so gentle taps with a hammer will help to loosen it. When you remove the light switch if it controls 1 light it will have 2 wires. If it controls 2 lights (2 way) it will have 3. Use the voltage detector on the terminals of the switch to confirm that they are dead.
3. Label the wires and take a photograph to make sure you replace the wiring correctly in the new switch.
4. There should also be an earth wire (coloured green or green and yellow attached to the switch or the mounting in the wall. If you do not have one of these then it is an older type of wiring system and it is vitally important that NO metal fittings are connected to this type of lighting circuit as exposed metal parts could become live in the event of a fault.
5. Carefully replace the switch on the wall locating the screws and making sure that none of the wires are in the way of them.
6. Moving back to the fuse box / consumer unit carefully re-energise the circuit by turning the switches on or replacing the fuse.
7. Test the functionality of the light.
8. Bear in mind that a qualified electrician should ideally check the wiring after any work has been done on a circuit, as they will be able to certify it as safe. If you are replacing electrical fittings in a kitchen or bathroom, it is a legal requirement to have the work certified either directly with your local authority or by using an electrician who is a member of a registered competent person scheme such as ELECSA or NICEIC.
Care and Maintenance:
A qualified electrician should regularly inspect all electrical installations at least once every 10 years. For rented properties this should be done every year or when tenants change. Any faults are usually down to loose connections however, if you are unsure the safest thing to do is call a qualified professional.
This guide was provided by Connections Electrical Services
The information provided in this guide is to be used strictly for guidance only. We recommend you always read the manufacturer's instructions.