How to Replace a Dead Electrical Switch
Replacing a light switch is a very easy do it yourself project, whether you need to replace a dead switch or you want to upgrade a switch to add a dimmer or other features. As with any project involving your household electrical system, please use caution, and if you identify signs of a more seriousPosted — Updated
Return to the site of the switch and carefully remove the faceplate, setting it and the screws aside. Use an electrical tester to confirm the switch is not energized. These useful tools are inexpensive and available at most hardware and home supply stores. If the switch is still energized, return to the junction box and try different breakers until you find the right one. (Remember to update the labels when you're done!)
With the power to the switch off, you can remove the screws that hold it into the wall and gently pull it out. Do this carefully to avoid breaking or stressing the wires. Unscrew the wires from the terminals on the old switch, starting with the neutral wire. If the hot and neutral wires are not clearly labeled, wrap them in electrical tape so they are. Hot wires should be black, while the single neutral or ground wire should be white or green.
If the hot wire is cracked or the insulation is fraying, cut it below that site, if possible; remember not to cute the wire too short or it will be hard to work with. If this isn't an option, wrap it well in electrical tape. You don't want exposed electrical wires, because this could cause a short.
When you're finished, gently push the switch back into the wall and screw it in place. Turn the power back on and check to confirm that the switch is working. If you hear a popping noise or notice sparks and smoke, something is wrong; disconnect the power again, check your wiring, and retest. If the problem continues, call an electrician.
If the switch works smoothly and without incident, reattach the faceplate; you're done!