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Electrical Wire and Cable

Causes of Light or Switch Delay

Why is there a time delay when I turn on a light switch? Why a Light Fixture or Switch May Have a Delay When Turning On.

Home Electrical Wiring Video

Hooking Up a Generator to the House Panel
Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit
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Why a Light Fixture or Switch May Have a Delay
[ad#block]Electrical Question: Why is there a time delay when I turn on a light switch?

This electrical wiring question came from: Walt, a Homeowner from Dallas, Texas.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Walt.

Causes of a Light Switch Delay

Light Switch, Single Pole 120Volt
Part Reference: Replacement Light Switch
I have found for example, that a Replacement Light Switch may be necessary when the existing light switch is old and not working properly, as described in this electrical question.

Sources and Citations
For more information about Single Pole Light Switches
15 Amp, 120 Volt, Toggle Framed Single-Pole AC Quiet Switch, Residential Grade

The Following will assist you with wiring light switches:




The following may also be helpful for you:

Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

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Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book
Great for any Home Wiring Project.
  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handy Women, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

More articles about Light Switch Delay, Light Switches and Home Electrical Wiring:
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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

6 Responses to “Causes of Light or Switch Delay”
  1. Jonathan Schaefer says:

    I also have one light in my home that has a delay. There is a ceiling fan that is effected. The ceiling fan is connected through a SPST switch. There is an additional issue on top of this I think. The light kit on the ceiling fan will stop working after a while. There was a different ceiling fan installed that worked fine for about a year and a half. At this point, the light kit would stop working, first for a few hours, then longer, and then not at all. I replaced the fan, and the problem seem to go away, except the delay. Then the other night, the light stopped working, it turned out to be the bulb, but I replaced this last night, everything worked. When I tried to turn the light on this morning, the new bulb immediately blew.

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Johnathan,
    The circuit wiring should be checked and voltage readings observed to look for a possible fault. Intermittent problems like this can be challenging to find, however in a case such as this, the starting point should be the electrical circuit.
    I hope this helps,

  3. Jonathan Schaefer says:

    Thank You that should help. However, I do realize I may have forgot a detail. The fan in question still works, just not the light.

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    The light fixture wiring should be inspected for a possible connection problem or a possible pinched wire which can occur when the light fixture parts are reassembled.
    I hope this helps,

  5. Tony says:

    I have a porch light switch with 2 sconces, both have 60 watt incandescent bulbs in them. When I flip the switch it can take anywhere from 3 to 20 seconds for the light to come on. After reading, I’m inclined to stay by replacing the switch and then trouble shoot from there. Thoughts or suggestions?

  6. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Tony, One thing to consider is light bulbs. If the porch lamps do not have standard incandescent light bulbs then there could be a start delay. This is especially true for CFL bulbs that are used in outdoor light fixtures where the temperature is cold.