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Solution for Sparking Light Switches


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Why You May See a Spark in Your Wall Switch and What to do About It


Cause and Solution for Sparking Light Switches

Electrical Question: I have a house and when the light switches are turned on the switch will snap and spark. Also the receptacle boxes for lights have burn marks around them.

This electrical question came from: Lee, a Homeowner from Sarnia Ontario, Canada.
See more about Home Wiring for Canada

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Lee.

Why You May See a Spark in Your Wall Switch and What to do About It

Electrical Loads of Light Fixtures and Switches

  • The occurrence of a visual spark from inside a light switch is most likely an indication that the light switch is beginning to wear out which may be due to a large electrical circuit load that is passing through the light switch.
  • A typical light switch will snap into the On position however there is a fast arc or spark that will occur between the contacts just before the point of contact.
  • This spark may be noticeable when switching on a large lighting load such as dual heat lamps of a bathroom ceiling exhaust fan combination fixture.

Burnt Receptacle Outlet

  • The description of both a sparking light switch and burnt receptacles may in fact be related to the same problem.
  • If the light switch is controlling a receptacle where high amounts of electrical power is being consumed then this is one in the same problem.
  • The light switch is sparking due to the large load that is being plugged into the receptacle outlet which is causing a burning effect on the receptacle outlet.

Rated Size of  a Light Switch

  • In some cases it may be found that the light switch that has been installed is rated for 15 amps and the circuit is rated for 20 amps.
  • In most cases one switch will not control a 15 or 20 amp load however where high watt loads are switched it is best to make sure to use a good quality brand light switch that is rated for the circuit amperage.

RESOURCES

How to Wire a Switch
electrical-switches

Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1

Wiring Diagrams

Fully Explained Light Switch Wiring Diagrams. Detailed Electrical Wiring Diagrams and Pictures assist your Home Electrical Projects.

Lighting For The Home

Lighting Electrical Codes

Electrical Outlet Wiring
outlet-wiring

Wiring Electrical Outlets for the Home

Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how wiring electrical outlets for the home are done.

Using Electrical Testers
digital-tester

Understanding Electrical Testers

When working on home electrical wiring using 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.
Types of Electrical Testers
Using Electrical Testers


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