While some electrical issues don’t seem like a big deal, others can make you stop in your tracks. A crackling light switch is one such problem, and it should be enough to make you reach for the phone and call an electrician in Wichita, KS. Learn more about what causes the crackling sound and how you can fix it.
Knowing How a Light Switch Works
To better understand what a crackling light switch means, you need to know more about how the switch works. A standard switch controls the flow of electricity to a fixture. There are two terminals on the light switch that can either provide a continuous flow of electricity or disrupt the flow.
The black power supply wire connects the two terminals when the switch is in the on position. When it’s in the off position, the switch causes the connection between the terminals to open. Without a connection, no electricity flows and the light turns off.
As electricity flows, it makes heat. But the wires are insulated, which means the heat remains within the wires. This prevents your light from being a fire hazard and the switch from getting hot.
What Makes It Crackle?
When you turn on or off a light switch, you should hear a clicking sound. Any other noise is a sign of trouble. Over time, frequent use causes light switches to malfunction. The connections may loosen, and connections can wear down over time. Unfortunately, this poses a serious issue. A faulty or loose connection may result in the current jumping gaps.
At times, a light switch no longer allows contact between both terminals. When you switch the light on, the power isn’t steady. Arcing current often results in a crackling or hissing noise. It also can cause a popping noise.
In any case, the noise means your switch could be a fire hazard. You should call an electric company in Wichita, KS to repair the switch.
What it Takes to Replace the Light Switch
If you’re considering repairing the light switch yourself, you might want to think again. Replacing a grounded light switch is a challenging task that’s best left to the experts. As with any electric repair, there’s a significant risk of shock.
That said, it doesn’t hurt to understand how to replace a light switch. First, you need to turn off the power at the circuit breaker box. It’s crucial to be certain you flip the right breaker, or the power will still be going to the switch. If you place a multimeter on the switch, you can check that the power is off.
Once the power is off, it’s time to remove the switch plate. It screws off with a screwdriver, but be gentle when you pull the plate off. As you pull the switch out, be cautious not to yank the wiring.
Disconnecting the Wires
On older switches, the wires loop around terminal screws. If your switch has screws, loosen them to access the wires. In the event that you have a newer switch, the wires attach via a hole in the back. Using a flat screwdriver, you can hold the housing while you pull the wires out.
If you don’t make a note of how the wires connect, the result will be a disaster. You won’t be able to reconnect the wires without playing a dangerous guessing game. For that reason, consider attaching temporary labels to the electrical components.
Usually, the black or red wire is the hot wire and connects to the brass screw. The white, or neutral wire, links to the other screw or hole. Meanwhile, the green or copper wire is the ground wire and attaches to the terminal screw or the screw on the electrical box. You may need to unscrew that screw to disconnect the wire.
Replacing the Switch
After you expose and disconnect the wires, you need to make sure the wires on the new switch are exposed. There should be a half-inch of exposed wire, so you may need to use a wire stripper to remove some of the casing.
Make sure you note where the on and off switch on the new switch is. Then, attach the hot wire to the switch by twisting the wire around the brass screw. Be sure to twist the wire in a counterclockwise direction and tighten the brass screw. If you have a back-wired switch, place the wire through the right hole.
Do the same with the neutral wire and the new switch, but attach the wire to the silver screw or proper hole. Reattach the ground wire if necessary. Only then can you place the switch into the box and screw it back into place. To test the switch, turn the power back on at the breaker and try flipping the switch.
Why You Need an Electrician in Wichita, KS
Sure, you could try to follow all of those steps above and replace the switch on your own. But there are several reasons you may want to hire a professional for the job.
For one, a professional can confirm that the switch really is the issue. Without an electrician to diagnose the problem, you can’t be sure your crackling results from a faulty switch. It takes a more experienced hand to identify the real issue.
There’s also the issue of personal safety. In the steps above, there are multiple opportunities for a shock to occur. At times, breakers don’t have proper labels. You could experience a severe shock that requires medical attention.
Finally, there’s the issue of a fire hazard. Faulty wiring can easily result in a house fire. For the safety of you and your family, you should only trust an experienced electrician to handle your crackling light switch.
Call Us to Learn More
Don’t hesitate to get assistance with your electrical issue. Call us at Eck Services to find out how we can help you. When you rely on our professionals, you can trust that your home is in good hands. The next time you need an electrician in Wichita, KS, contact us.