To change a light switch, follow these steps:

Luke Begley
  1. Use CircuitIQ app to quickly identify breaker powering lights in room you would like to work in.
  2. Turn off the power to the light switch at the main circuit breaker box. Mark the breaker switch with tape to ensure no one else turns it back on while you’re working. Confirm that you’ve turned off power to the correct light switch by flipping the wall switch on and off.

  3. Remove the old wall plate by unscrewing it. Use a utility knife to score around it and loosen it if it has been painted over.

  4. Before continuing any further, check again to make sure that the power is off to the switch by using a circuit tester. Make sure the old wires are in good condition and that you understand their configuration. If you’re unsure how the wires are marked, call an electrician.

  5. Disconnect the old switch by removing the screws. Carefully remove the switch and attached wires. There are three types of wires that run to most switches: black wires that go to black or brass screws, copper or green ground wires attached to green or copper screws and neutral white wires. Unscrew all wires. If the wires are attached using push-in connectors, use a screwdriver to release them.

  6. Attach the new wires to the new switch in the same configuration as you removed them. Make sure the new wall plate fits and that the switch is oriented so that it's downward in the off position. Replace any wire connectors if needed.

  7. Screw the new switch back into the switch box. Before replacing the wall plate, flip the breaker box switch back on to make sure everything works. If it does, turn the breaker box switch off again and attach the plate. Turn the breaker box back on a final time and you’re ready to use your new switch.

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