4 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Light Switch

Let there be light. Hitting a switch to get instant light is one of many things we take for granted in the modern world. But how do you know when it’s time to switch your switch? If your light switch sounds like a bowl of Rice Krispies every time you flip it, it’s probably time to take a look. In this post, we’ll investigate some of the telltale signs it’s time to make a change.


Like everything else in your home, light switches will eventually wear out. Connections get loose and parts break. At some point, you’ll screw in a new bulb and it won’t turn on. Here are some signs that the switch is in need of replacement:

  • Flickering: If the light works sometimes, but not always, and not immediately, there could be an issue with the switch. Flickering before turning on permanently is another sign of trouble.
  • Sparks: Problems with electrical wiring can cause a switch to “spark,’ typically when you turn the light off.  In some cases, you’ll even hear a pop, and in a serious case, you could even see smoke. Get this switch replaced ASAP!
  • Noisy: Any sort of snap, crackle, or pop from your switch is a warning that something’s wrong.
  • Heat: A dimmer switch may feel slightly warm if the light has been on for a while, but this should NOT be the case for a regular switch.


A multimeter is a testing device that measures electrical voltage. While certified electricians should handle any electrical work, some homeowners may feel comfortable using a multimeter. Here’s how:

  1. Turn off the circuit breaker
  2. Uninstall light switch
  3. Turn on the multimeter (for continuity or ohms)
  4. Determine if you have a single-pole or three-way switch
    1. A single-pole will have two side terminal screws and a ground screw
      1. To test, touch one multimeter lead to each of the side terminals and flip the switch. You should get a reading of 1.
    2. A three-way will have a dark-colored screw, and two normal side terminals.
      1. To test, hold one multimeter lead to the common screw, and the other to one of the side terminals. Flip the switch to see if you get a reading of 1. Then test the other side terminal.
  5. If you don’t get that reading, it’s time to replace the switch!
  6. If installing a new switch, be sure to leave the circuit breaker off until you’re through!


Did you know The Bosworth Company has fully certified electricians? Make an appointment to fix a light switch, or for any of your electrical needs. Schedule your appointment online or call us at 432-570-5233. It’s Worth the Call. Always!