Most Common Light Switch Problems

Common Wall Switch Problems and Solutions

  1. Fixture does not light or lights intermittently
  2. Fuse blows or circuit breaker trips when switch flipped on
  3. Sparks or crackling noise or light flickers when switch on
  4. Toggle does not stay in ON position
  5. Both switches must be flipped to turn on fixture (three-way series)
  6. Fixture does not light (four-way series)

Fixture does not light or lights intermittently

Possible CauseProcedure
Light bulb burned outReplace light bulb
Fuse blown or circuit breaker trippedReplace fuse or reset circuit breaker
Wires in box damagedRepair wires in box
Switch connections looseTighten connections
Switch faultyTest and replace switch
Fixture faultyService fixture

Fuse blows or circuit breaker trips when switch flipped on

Possible CauseProcedure
Too many fixtures or appliances on circuitMove an appliance to another circuit
Short circuit in wiring systemCheck wiring and boxes along the circuit

Sparks or crackling noise or light flickers when switch on

Possible CauseProcedure
Switch connections looseTighten connections
Switch faultyTest and replace switch

Toggle does not stay in ON position

Possible CauseProcedure
Switch faultyReplace switch

Both switches must be flipped to turn on fixture (three-way series)

Possible CauseProcedure
Loose connection at one of the switchesTighten connections of one switch at a time
One of the switches faultyTest switches one at a time and replace if faulty

Fixture does not light (four-way series)

Possible CauseProcedure
Three-way switch connection looseTighten connections of one switch at a time
One of the three-way switches faultyTest switches one at a time and replace if faulty
Four-way switch connection looseTighten connections
Four-way switch faultyTest and replace switch

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