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How to Test a Light Switch

How to Use Electrical Testers to Test a Light Switch – A switch can be tested using a ohm meter continuity tester or a voltage tester.

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How To Know If a Light Switch Is Bad

Electrical Question: How would you know if a light switch was bad?

This electrical wiring question came from: Bob, a Homeowner from Surf City, NC

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical repair question Bob.

Using Electrical Testers to Test a Light Switch

Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.

Hey Bob, I thought Surf City was in California? Well anyway – if your light does not go on, and you know your light bulbs are good, and everything else is working OK then you just might have a bad switch.
A switch can be tested using a ohm meter continuity tester or a voltage tester. If you do not get a reading with either test then the switch will need to be replaced.

Using electrical testers
Electrical Safety and Voltage Testers
When working on home electrical wiring, quality voltage testers can play an important part in electrical safety. Electrical testers enable you to identify electrical circuits and help prevent the possibility of accidental electrical shock.

The Following will assist you with your light switch electrical repair:

Light Switch Wiring
Light Switch Wiring
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
Fully explained pictures and wiring diagrams about wiring light switches describing the most common switches starting with photo diagram 1.

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

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “How to Test a Light Switch”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Bill, this usually indicates that one leg of the wiring has been lost, typically the neutral. This calls for testing to identify the location, then repairing of the most likely burnt wiring. I advise locating a qualified electrician.

  2. Bill A says:

    I am only getting about 79 to 80 volts at the light switch connector. It runs my vent fan in bath. This fan worked fine up until a few weeks ago. I replaced the switch, same problem. can you help ?