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How to install light switch

Updated April 17, 2017

Installing a light switch in your home is probably easier than you think. With the correct precautions, you too can safely install, change, or replace a light switch. Many new types of light switches come on to the market every year, but almost all of them are wired and connected in exactly the same way. Learning how to correctly wire a simple on/off light switch is easily done by following a few simple steps.

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  1. Turn off the power to the switch at the circuit breaker or fuse panel inside the home. Make sure that there is no power at the switch before removing the cover plate.

  2. Remove the cover plate and the existing switch (if in place) by removing the retaining screws with your screwdriver.

  3. Connect the green or copper coloured wire from the wall socket (if present) to the clearly marked grounding terminal on the light switch, securing it in place by screwing it to the light switch using your screwdriver.

  4. Connect the two black wires to the two terminals on the switch and secure in place by screwing the wires into the switch using your screwdriver. The order in which you connect the two black wires does not matter, as either orientation will break the circuit when the switch is flipped.

  5. Replace the new switch into the wall socket and secure in place using the two retaining screws and your screwdriver.

  6. Replace the light switch cover using the two retaining screws and your screwdriver.

  7. Turn the power back on flipping the same circuit breaker or fuse that you turned off prior to working on the switch. Test that the light switch is working properly, if not, turn the power off, and check that all above steps were followed correctly.

  8. Warning

    It is essential that power is disconnected when working with any electrical appliance, never perform any maintenance on live wires.

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Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Light switch
  • Wire cutters

About the Author

Brandy Alexander began writing professionally in 1993. She has years of experience as a professional of the English language employed with the "Cape Times" and "The Mercury." Alexander holds a master's degree in English literature from Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

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