Light switches are about as normal in our day to day life as putting on
clothes or driving to where we need to go. Commonly found in every home
with electric lights, these simple devices have one function: to complete
or interrupt a circuit in order to turn the lights on or off. We take
them for granted or hardly ever think about them because they often last
for decades without any maintenance more than the occasional cleaning
from all the hands that touch them.
However, a failing switch could be a serious issue. Switches will eventually
get old and wear out, and when they do, the risk for a failure increases,
which could spark a serious electrical fire. Want to prevent this? Know
the signs of a failing switch and replace it as soon as you start to notice
them. Here are just a few tell-tale signs of a switch that’s on
its last legs.
The first sign of a switch that’s on its way out is the sounds it
makes when you flip it on. A switch that emits a crackling, popping, or
hissing noise when turned on is one that’s experiencing electrical
arcing on the inside, which poses a serious fire hazard. Arcing is when
the electricity itself jumps between two conductors that aren’t
necessarily connected, but in close proximity, and this is usually indicative
of the switch getting old and wearing out. The more times it arcs, the
more likely it will be that one day this arc catches something inside
your wall on fire.
Trust Your Feeling
A switch that’s flipped on shouldn’t change temperatures at
all unless it has a locator LED on the inside to make it visible in the
dark. Most switches should feel exactly the same to the touch as when
you flipped them on initially. If a switch for some reason feels warm
to the touch or the switch plate (the part that’s mounted to the
wall) feel warm, then you could have a short or some other form of a serious
issue. Shut off the light and call a Marietta electrician right away.
Look for Issues
Finally, if you flip the switch and there’s a delay in how long it
takes the light to turn on, then your switch is probably wearing out.
This is not usually a fire hazard, but simply an indicator that the contacts
in the switch are wearing out after years of use. That means it’s
time to replace it with a new switch, which you can do at home without
too much difficulty and with just a few simple tools.
Experiencing an electrical issue with one of your switches?
Call Lightning Bug Electric today at (404) 471-3847 to schedule a service!