Do your lights keep flickering or are your dimmer switches not functioning properly? If so then you may need to replace them. Although it may seem like an easy task to fix to do yourself, the process is more complicated and should be carried out by a professional and licensed electrician. At King Electricians, we have the proper tools for the job and will also inspect the job to make sure there are no faulty or lose wires that may be a safety hazard or lead to further problems.
Our electricians will replace, repair and install your lighting and dimmer switches, ensuring that all work is done safely and to a high quality.
The different types of switches used in UK homes
The single-pole switch is the most common switch in UK homes with only one control. This switch is the easiest to fix, repair or replace.
3-way and 4-way switches
Other common light switches are 3-way and 4-way light switches, they are a little more complicated than the single-pole switches. A 3-way switch controls one output from two locations whilst a 4-way switch controls one output from three locations.
Both 3-way and 4-way switches are commonly used for hallways and larger rooms.
A dimmer switch is used to control the brightness of a room and are perfect in living rooms to create an ambient and relaxing environment.
Another benefit of dimmer switches is that they can save energy when full lighting isn’t needed and are therefore more environmentally friendly.
Common light switch problems
In the UK, the most common light switch problem is flickering lights which is usually due to loose wiring or a poor connection to the switch terminal. Another problem could be down to exposed wires touching the switch so be sure to have enough room for bare wires.
Loose or damaged wiring
Loose wires are usually caused by improper installation or may have become loose over time. Either way, loose wiring can lead to further damage and put your safety at risk and requires immediate attention.
Circuit breaker tripping
Another large problem is the circuit breaker tripping or the fuse box burning out. Usually the most common cause for this problem is an overloaded circuit, which can be due to their being too many appliances connected. This is very dangerous as it can lead to fires and you will need to reduce the amount of appliances that are plugged into a socket.
Common dimmer switch problems
Dimmer switch buzzing
One of the most common problems with dimmer switches is a constant buzzing or humming. The first thing to do is to check whether the sound is coming from the light bulb, if so then you may only need to change the light bulb. If the sound is coming from the dimmer switch itself, then it may be due to overloading the capacity of the switch.
Dimmer switch not dimming
Another common problem with dimmer switches is when the light is not dimming all the way or not dimming at all. This is usually down to overloading the dimmer switch which can cause it not to dim properly.
Dimmer switch not working after replacing bulb
It may be the case that your dimmer switch is not working even though you have replaced your bulbs, which could be due to loose wiring and should be repaired by a qualified electrician. As mentioned before, if the lights are constantly flickering in your household, it is most likely due to loose wiring or a poor connection.
How to replace a light switch
Before you complete any electrical work, always remember safety first. This means that you need to switch off the mains power at the fuse box and isolate your selected circuit by removing the circuit fuse. Any products replaced or installed must be according to local Building Regulations. One important factor to note is to write down exactly how the old switch was wired before disconnecting it, so that you can wire the new switch in the same way.
Step 1 – Isolate the circuit and make sure that the power is off with a voltmeter.
Step 2 – Draw a diagram showing the number and colour of wires connected to each terminal. You will need to release the terminal screws and pull the cores from the terminals.
Step 3 – Connect the cores to the right terminals and tighten the screws. You may need to pull the wires slightly to make sure they’re clamping the cable cores. Check that each connection is secure and push the cable back into the mounting box.
How to replace a dimmer switch
Although some elctrical work can be done yourself, it’s important to take safety precautions when working with electricity.
Step 1 – Firstly make sure the power supply is turned off at the mains, it’s important to make sure the socket your working on has no power!
Step 2 – Take off the plate by unscrewing the screws then slowly pull out the dimmer switch to reveal the wires so they can be seen.
Step 3 – Disconnect the wires to the switch using a screwdriver, it also advised to take note of the colour of wires and where they connect.
Step 4 – Connect the new dimmer switch to the old wires making sure the correct coloured wires match.
Step 5 – Pull the wires lightly to confirm that the wires aren’t loose and that the wired are connected correctly.
Step 6 – Put the wires back into the wall and place the new dimmer switch on by fixing back with screws.
Turn the power supply back on and test the dimmer switch by adjusting the brightness. If the dimmer switch still doesn’t work, check the wiring connections again.
If all else fails, give a professional electrician a call.
Do I need an electrician to replace light switches or dimmer switches?
Although you don’t need an electrician to replace a light switch or dimmer switch, it is advised that you get a trained and qualified electrician to do the job.
Laws on electrical repairs are very strict for both householders and landlords, these laws are known as Building Regulations under “Part P” and require that all electrical work is complies with safety rules and do not put any person at risk in the household or building.
Even if you decide to replace a dimmer switch or light switch yourself, someone will still need to check and see if it has been replaced correctly, so it’s always a good idea to hire a licensed electrician to do the job and they can ensure that the job is done correctly.
Installing additional switches in your house
Installing additional light or dimmer switches is a much more complex task than installing a single light switch. if you would like to install any additional light or dimmer switches in your household we recommend that you contact our expert electricians who are always ready to give you the cost, the time needed for the job and any extra information you would like to know about installing switches.