Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Replacing a Bad Light Switch - TURN OFF ELECTRICITY FIRST

If I had to describe what my blog is about, I probably couldn't do it. There are so many things I do and have going on all the time that I just post about what I post about. 

On my youtube channel, it is the same thing. I think some people subscribe to the channel after watching a video on dehydration only to unsubscribe when they see me posting on how to fix a sprinkler drain. 

I had a friend once tell me that she thought I should focus on one subject for my blog. That is like putting a child in a candy store and telling them they can only have jelly beans and then only yellow jelly beans when there is this whole big store of all sorts of candy! 

I can't imagine how the people who have a "hair" blog can continually focus on hair. I couldn't do it. I guess I must be blog ADHD or something because there is NO way I could focus just on emergency preparedness or dehydrating. There is only so much you can do with dehydrating and I think you create what you focus your energy on and I personally don't want to focus on emergency stuff all the time! 

So, most of you will have NO interest in the post today because it is on something most people will never do! I have a huge bathroom for the girls. It has a long bar and about 15 or so lights across the top so they can have light to do hair and make-up etc. 

For a year or so now, when they would turn the light on, it would flicker on and off and you would have to push in on the on switch to get the lights to stay on. I remember my brother, the electrician,  telling me that a problem like that can start a fire so it has been on my "to do" list since I noticed it. 

Flash forward to last weekend when I had Princess Five here to help me with my mother. I got SO much done that day. I went around changing all the light bulbs that had gone out and flipped this switch and was reminded that it was having problems so I went right to the hardware store and picked up a new one! 

Changing out light switches is rather simple. There are a few "need to know" things. If you use compact florescent bulbs, you can't use a dimmer switch. The next thing you need to know is that you need to pay attention to see if the switch is off-white or white as you don't want to get to the store and then realize you don't know what color to purchase. 

The most important thing is to turn off the electricity to the switch at the breaker. Once the electricity is off, you can unscrew the plate over the switch. Then, unscrew the switch as there are two screws holding it into the metal box inside the wall. Once it is unscrewed, you can pull the switch out of the wall to get to the wires. 
There are two screws on the right side of the switch screwed in which hold the wires onto the switch. I usually take notice of which is on the top and which is below. The wires are usually thick copper so it isn't hard to keep them in place of upper and lower. Once you have the screws loose enough, you can push the wires off of them and then slide them right onto the new switch screws. Make sure that you screw them in securely. 

Some switches have a green screw on the left side of the switch. This is a grounding screw. If your old switch has a wire screwed to the green screw, remove the wire from the old switch and put it on the new switch green screw. Make sure the wires aren't touching each other but really, they shouldn't if you have them screwed into the new switch securely. 

Put it back into the metal wall box and then screw it into the box with the two screws and then put the face plate back on with those two shorter screws. Turn on the electricity and try out the switch.

If you have an old home, there are usually lots of issues with the old wiring so all bets are off. I suggest having electric wiring in old houses checked as we have friends that lost their home with a fire due to faulty old wires in the walls and attic. 
If you have any concerns or questions, err on the side of caution and hire someone who knows what they are doing. There are a few handy men around our town that I have hired to fix things and they charge less per hour than an electrician or plumber so I usually go with a handy man over a licensed person unless I need something that only that specialist can do. The specialists usually charge a house fee even if they don't do anything. A plumber is usually near $75 just to show up at your home. Most handy men can fix dripping faucets, etc but without the upfront fees.
I have changed switches out a few times as well as power outlets which are very similar to change out.Sometimes, I will just call the plumbing supply place or the electrician just to get tips on the "best" way to do something. It helps to have handy men, electricians, appliance repair and plumbers as friends. I usually take treats over after they help me with a problem just to keep them happy in case I need to call for advice again!

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