Three Switch Installation Suggestions

Anyone interested in electrical home projects will likely attempt a switch installation one day. Whether replacing an old version or installing a dimmer, you'll need to have skill and consider these switch issues along the way.

Use Appropriate Switches

Any switch won't do when you're installing one. It must suit the lighting fixtures you'll be using . If you're putting in a switch for an existing fixture, consult the fixture itself or the manufacturer to know what the max is; you may currently be using a light bulb that is far below that amount, but if you install a switch for the light bulb, anyone using a higher wattage bulb in the future could experience problems.

If you're not yet sure or want to arrange the switch to be compatible with multiple light fixtures in case you change your mind, select a switch that will be well able to handle a large load and then ensure you keep that load amount in mind whenever you get fixtures.  

Turn Off All Power

A simple and common mistake many make is to switch off the individual breaker that leads to the individual switch being worked on. This is logical, but could end up hurting you. That's because many wires cross or are are connected; a live wire powered by another breaker could still be feeding electricity to the switch. Therefore, to be safest, you'll need to shut down all home power while you're tending to a particular switch.

To feel confident that there's no power, get a voltmeter to measure power and only proceed if the instrument reads nothing. If you're still getting voltage readings, there could be electrical issues in the circuit breaker panel itself or elsewhere. In that case, call an electrician.

Be Generous with Wiring

Your first impulse regarding wires is probably that you don't want a lot of extra wiring taking up space in the walls. You may view that as a fire risk. However, you don't want to slide too far to the other extreme and cut each wire so short that it just fits and tightly connects to another.  That's because, depending on the wire material you're using, the wires could contract and expand over time as they're used. This means that tight connections could loosen. That creates dangerous situations because it's easy for sparks to fly as electricity effectively "jumps" between them. Fires could result. Therefore, leave some "give" and some length whenever you cut wires while working on the switch.

These switch suggestions should be helpful for project completion. If you're not completely at ease, consult electricians who can properly troubleshoot problems or finish the electrical switch installation for you. Visit a website like for more help.