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Old 03-09-2008, 10:08 AM   #1
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Light switches not working

First off, I'm by no means an expert at any of this; so any DIY things that I may be able to do may need some pretty detailed steps.

My home is a little on the older side, but over the past 3-4 years some of the switches just randomly stopped working. Now I know it's not the light bulb itself since they have been tested a few different times with new ones and other functioning ones from other lights in the house.

My most recent switch failure was in my bathroom and the first day that I discovered it, when I hit the switch I would see the light flicker REALLY quickly then die out. It did this for about a day or two then it wouldn't flicker at all. Sorry if this is totally useless background

Total light switch locations that simply don't work anymore:
Dining Room (We have two for this fixture and the other one works fine)

Any help you guys can give me would be fantastic, also if this is simply something that I shouldn't/cant do myself and I would need an electrician any idea what the cost for this sorta thing would be?

Thanks a ton guys!


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Old 03-09-2008, 10:18 AM   #2
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Replace the light switch. They do go bad sometimes.
If they were all installed at the same time and were all the cheapest ones available it is not unlikely that they could all start going bad at the same time.


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Old 03-09-2008, 11:44 AM   #3
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:11 PM   #4
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It is most likely the switches that have gone bad. If they are single pole [a switch that controls a light or receptacle from one location] simply remove the wires from each screw and screw them to the new switch. In this case it does not matter what wire goes on what screw.

If you have more than one wire per screw let us know as this is not correct.
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:40 PM   #5
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I'll try this, all the switches are the same age so I guess this does make a lot of sense.

I'll post with the results in a couple days!

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Old 03-09-2008, 10:14 PM   #6
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It seems like the decora switches seem to fail pretty often from my experience. I like the snap switches better.
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Old 07-20-2008, 10:16 AM   #7
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When you replace the switch, notice if the screws are tight. Sometimes the wire heating and cooling will cause some of the metal in the wire (especially aluminum wire ) to displace. Over time this can cause a loose connection. I have seen this happen with outlets also. If that is the case I would check ALL switches and outlets in the house.
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:34 PM   #8
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If you run a short loop of insulated wire from one switch screw terminal to the other, and the light comes on, it's the switch. Each wire end needs to be stripped of insulation 1/8" or so.

If you have a clear view of the switch terminals when the wall plate is removed you can do this switch shunting procedure without dismounting the switch.

Be careful disturbing old wiring; it gets brittle.

If the light doesn't come on, it could still be a bad switch but there's also a problem somewhere else.


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