How to Change a Light Switch

How to Replace a Light Switch in Just a Few Minutes

By Mark J. Donovan

Changing a light switch is a relatively straight forward project to do, however when dealing with electricity safety needs to be the top priority.

You can change a light switch in less than an hour using just a common screwdriver and a pair of Needle Nose Pliers.
To begin with, turn power off to the switch at the main circuit panel or fuse box. Note, it is best to use only one hand when turning on and off the circuit breaker.

Your other hand should not be touching the circuit panel or anything that could come in contact with the ground.

Make sure you let everyone in the home know that you are working on the switch and that for no reason should they turn power back on at the main circuit panel or fuse box. You may also consider putting a piece of tape over the circuit breaker and label it “DO NOT TURN ON”.

After turning power off at the circuit panel or fuse box, toggle the light switch a couple of times to ensure that the light switch is no longer operational.

Next, using your screwdriver, remove the screws that hold the switch faceplate and pull the face plate off.

Now remove the two screws that hold the light switch to the electrical box.

Next, pull the switch out from the electrical box a few inches.

Label each wire with a piece of tape indicating which wire attaches to which screw or press-fit socket.

How to Change a Light Switch Ebook

Using your screwdriver and/or Needle Nose pliers remove the wires from the switch.

Visit your local home improvement store with your switch in hand, and find an exact replacement to it. If you are looking for a different style switch, ask a salesperson to help you find a functionally equivalent switch. For example, if your old switch is a Single Pole, Single Throw (SPST) type, you will need to find a replacement switch that is functionally the same.

Install the new switch, making sure to attach the wires back according to the labels you made earlier.

Push the newly wired switch into the electrical box and attach it with the two mounting screws.

Reinstall the switch faceplate cover and you are ready to test it.

Turn the power back on to the switch at the main circuit panel or fuse box.

How to Change a Light Switch

Toggle the light switch and confirm the light turns on and off properly.

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