Colorado Springs Light Switch Wiring Service
When you want to turn your light on and off, you don't need to think about what to do. You just reach out, flip the switch, and take it for granted that everything will work perfectly as usual. Light switches are everywhere in our lives, so they usually go overlooked—but that means when houses or commercial properties experience malfunctions with light switch wiring in Colorado Springs, it can be a very unexpected and unpleasant problem.
An electrical issue such as faulty light switch wiring tends to slowly get worse and worse over time. Because symptoms get incrementally more irritating or dangerous, many people in Colorado Springs tend to be like a proverbial frog in hot water, not noticing that conditions are deteriorating until it's too late—or just assuming that some signs of trouble they do notice are normal.
If you are aware of the signs of damaged or degraded light switch wiring, you can get help from a qualified Colorado Springs electrician before it can cause an aggravating service disruption or serious safety issue for your household. If you notice some of the signs we've listed below in your house or business building, count on the team of electrical service professionals at Mr. Electric of Colorado Springs to get your light switch wiring back in perfect working order.
What Are the Signs of Failing or Damaged Light Switch Wiring in Colorado Springs, CO?
Light switches are, of course, the devices on the wall that you use to turn lights on and off. But they can also be used to allow power to reach other wall fixtures such as a GFCI outlet or ceiling fan. Whether you have standard switches with toggle levers, dimmer switches, Australian rocker switches or one of about a dozen other varieties, it's important to know the symptoms of wiring that is in bad shape. Here are some of the signs that indicate you need electrical repair or replacement services from a licensed electrician:
Not Working at All
You flip your light toggle into the on position—and absolutely nothing happens. This is an annoying but pretty common electrical problem in Colorado Springs properties, and it usually isn't related to the wiring at all. It's much more likely that your bulb has burnt out, a circuit breaker has tripped or your power has gone out entirely because of harsh weather. But if none of those turn out to be a problem, your switch wiring is a prime suspect.
Lighting Fixture Behaves Strangely
When you flip on a light, does it take a couple seconds for your connected fixtures to actually come on, or do they flicker a few times? They may also start out dim and then grow brighter after a few seconds. These are all signs that metal parts inside your mechanism itself are degrading and are struggling to make the connections necessary for an electricity path, which is called contact corrosion. Or, it could be that there is a short circuit causing it to fail intermittently. In this case, your electrician can swap out your old unit for a new one and your lighting fixture function should be back to normal.
Smoking or Scorching
You may see a small spark around your wall switch when you turn lighting fixtures off. That's actually normal and not a cause for concern—it's called a load arc and it happens when the electrical connection inside the mechanism is separated, causing your light fixture to turn off. If you see—or hear—a large spark, on the other hand, that could be related to a faulty wiring issue. And, if you smell smoke coming from the switch or there are scorch marks on the switch plate, it needs to be replaced right away before it causes an electrical fire. Avoid using the switch until you've had it checked out by an electrician who can correct the problem and make sure everything is safe again.
Buzzing, Popping, Sizzling or Clicking Noises
When light wiring or the mechanism itself has deteriorated, they can create all kinds of electricity-related noises such as popping, sizzling, clicking and buzzing. This typically indicates that your mechanism has suffered wear and tear over the years, or it may have been defective to begin with. It could also be a problem with loose wiring connections.
An exception is if you hear a buzzing noise when you operate a dimmer. Some types of light bulbs will buzz when they are paired with a dimmer because it's causing filament in the light bulb to vibrate. Try to determine if the sound is coming from your bulb, and if it is, swap it out for another brand. If it's not your bulb, it is likely your toggle mechanism.
Most units should not be warm to your touch at all—they should just be room temperature, not giving off any noticeable heat. If the toggle lever or wall plate feel warm when you put your hand on them, it could be that the mechanism is failing or that it's not big enough for the amount of power it is drawing. For example, if the mechanism is only rated for 15 amps but it has been paired with a 20 amp circuit and multiple fixtures that are exceeding 15 amps, it may be drawing too much power and heating up. If that's happening, your electrician should replace it with a switch that is rated for 20 amps.
The exception to this is, again, dimmer switches. It's actually normal for a dimmer to feel warm because it is designed to dissipate some of the heat from the flow of power in order to dim the lighting. But if it feels legitimately hot, not warm, that is not normal and indicates a problem with the mechanism.
Toggle "Feels" Different
You operate your light toggles so often, you develop a kind of muscle memory for exactly how it feels when you flip the lever. That's why, when the "feel" changes, it can be very noticeable. If the toggle lever is getting more and more difficult to flip into the right position, or it doesn't have the same snap that it used to, this could indicate that the internal parts of the mechanism are wearing down and it needs to be replaced.
What Are the Different Types of Colorado Springs Light Switch Wiring?
When you are investigating your wiring and mechanisms for signs that they need repair or replacement, it is helpful to understand the difference between the main types that are usually used for residential applications in Colorado Springs.
This is the standard option that is probably most prevalent in houses throughout Colorado Springs. It controls a lighting fixture, wall outlet, or other device from a single location, usually next to an entryway in your room. It may have labeled on and off positions for the toggle lever, which are not found on some other types. Under the wall plate, it has hot wires connected to two brass colored screw terminals. One hot wire brings incoming electricity from the power source, while the other hot wire provides outgoing power to the fixture that is connected to your mechanism.
A double-pole variant is much more commonly used in industrial or commercial applications, but some homes in Colorado Springs do have them. On the outside it looks and operates like a single-pole switch—they are usually marked with on and off labels, and control a single lighting fixture, electrical outlet or device. The difference is that inside the mechanism there are four brass colored screw terminals for hot wires, as well as a ground terminal. That means there is room to connect two pairs of hot wires on a 240-volt circuit, and the mechanism will generally be rated for 30 amps rather than the typical 15 or 20 amps. A double-pole switch can be used to control appliances, motors and other items that require a heavier power draw than your basic fixture or wall outlet.
The three-way version is very similar to a single-pole and is also common in homes throughout Colorado Springs. It is actually a pair of toggles that control the same lighting fixture or connected outlets from different locations. For example, the light over a staircase will often have a three-way mechanism with a toggle at both the bottom and top of the stairs, so you can access the light from either end of the staircase and don't have to go stumbling up or down in the dark. They don't have on and off labels because the positions will change as the units are operated independently of each other. They have three terminal screws, which are called common, travelers and interchangeable, as well as a green screw terminal for a green ground wire. The traveler terminal is connected to a hot wire, while the other two terminals are interchangeable and can go either way.
Why Choose Mr. Electric for Colorado Springs Light Switch Wiring Service?
From fixing Colorado Springs light switch wiring to dozens of other possible electrical problems in your home or commercial business property, we are here to help! Our residential and commercial electricians are fully licensed for electrical work in Colorado Springs, with years of experience and training to fall back on. That means we know how to provide a wide range of services safely and efficiently. We will always adhere to national electrical code requirements and follow best practices to ensure that our repairs and installations will be effective, long-lasting, and safe for your household.
We don't just serve the city of Colorado Springs. Your local, qualified electrician is also available to provide expert diagnostic, inspection, repair and electrical installation services for light switch wiring and all the other parts of your electrical system in surrounding areas as well, such as Fountain and Palmer Lake.
Frequently Asked Questions About Colorado Springs Light Switch Wiring
Do I Need a Certain Type of Switch to Replace My Old Unit?
When you are purchasing a new unit to replace an old, busted mechanism in Colorado Springs, or you just want to replace a standard toggle lever type with a dimming or timer, remember that it must be the same type that you already have installed. If it's single-pole, the new unit must also be single-pole. If it's three-way, your new units must be three-way. In a four-way variant, you could replace either of the three-way mechanisms with a dimmer or timer, but you need to keep a standard toggle for the four-way mechanism itself (though you're unlikely to encounter this problem at home as four-way switches are not usually found in residences).
Is It Necessary to Turn Off a Circuit Breaker For Colorado Springs Light Switch Wiring Service?
It's critically important for safety reasons to remember that the only way to completely cut power to a lighting circuit is by turning off a circuit breaker in your electrical panel switch box. Just because a toggle is in an off position and a lighting fixture is dark, that doesn't mean there's no power going to your electrical wiring. Don't even remove a wall plate before you turn off the circuit breaker for that particular mechanism at your circuit breaker box, and flip your light switch to make sure you got the right one turned off.
What Is a "Smart Switch"?
Wi-fi smart light switches are becoming increasingly popular in Colorado Springs homes, because they can connect to a smart home service such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa and allow you to control your lights from anywhere in the house, or even remotely via a smartphone. They can also be manually operated. Most smart switches are three-way or four-way variants.
If You Have Problems With Light Switch Wiring in Colorado Springs, Call the Pros at Mr. Electric
Tired of dealing with Colorado Springs light switch wiring that is worn out, malfunctioning and potentially unsafe? The professional electrician team at Mr. Electric of Colorado Springs is here to resolve your light switch wiring woes, along with other repair and installation services to meet your electrical needs at your home and commercial property.
Get in touch with us today at (719) 401-6131 to book a convenient appointment time, or to chat with our knowledgeable customer service staff about why we are considered Colorado Springs' best choice for reliable electrical service.