How to Replace a Light Switch
Home repair doesn't get much easier. Just follow these step-by-step instructions.
If you're in the market for a light switch, be aware that several types are available. Some dual-pole switches, which control one light from two or more switches, have three or four terminal screws and a ground terminal. Single-pole switches, which control one light from one location, have two terminal screws and a ground terminal. If you're replacing a dual-pole switch, make note of the existing wiring, and if you're at all unsure of how to proceed, hire a licensed electrician to perform the job.
Here's how install a switch yourself:
Materials and Tools:
Remove the old switch
1. Shut off the power at the circuit-breaker box.
2. Remove the cover plate and test the terminals with the circuit tester. If the tester doesn't light up, there's no power going to the switch.
3. Remove the screws that hold the switch in place, and pull the switch from the wall.
4. Loosen the screws holding the wires to the switch, remove the wires, and remove the switch. In newer switches, the wires may go directly into the switch, where they are held in place by clamps inside the switch. These switches usually have a slot into which you can insert a small screwdriver to loosen the clamps.
Install the new switch
1. Begin by bending the end of the ground wire into a small hook, placing the hook over the ground terminal of the switch and tightening it in place.
2. Attach the remaining wires to the terminals and tighten them in the same way. Your new switch may have holes that allow you to insert the wires without using the terminal screws. If so, straighten the wires, press them into the holes as far as they'll go and then tug on them to make sure they're held securely in place.
3. Gently press the switch back into position and secure it in place with screws. Replace the switch cover and turn on the power at the circuit-breaker box.
Light Fixtures 101
Nothing affects both the mood and the function of a room quite like lighting does, so consider these 6 tips when deciding what fixtures to buy.
Faux Capiz Shell Pendant
Beautiful capiz shell pendants add romance, interest and natural beauty to any room. With this DIY tutorial, you can make a capiz pendant to any size using basic household supplies.
Home Control Lighting Tips
From automated window treatments to dimmers, learn what technology you need to light your home for safety, convenience and energy efficiency.
Adding a Light Fixture to a Ceiling Fan
Enhancing a room's ambiance is as easy as following these step-by-step instructions.
How to Relocate a Ceiling Fixture
If your light's not hitting the right spot, follow these step-by-step instructions.
How-to: Rope-Wrapped Chandelier
The DIY experts at HGTV Magazine recreated this flea market find. Here’s how you can, too.
Beading a Chandelier
Create a bedazzling overhead light by beading a chandelier.
Light Fixture Enclosure
Disguise an existing light fixture by building a fabric-covered enclosure for it.
Easy Under-Cabinet Kitchen Lighting
Highlight beautiful countertops and brighten dark spaces by adding under-cabinet lighting to your kitchen. With these simple, step-by-step instructions, anyone can install under-cabinet lighting without an electrician.
Designing a Home Lighting Plan
We'll show you the basics, including design ideas, product tips and lighting choices.
Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest trends and expert advice delivered to your inbox.
We're serving up the latest news, gorgeous style, crafty DIY projects, clever entertaining tips and more. Consider these your design digests.