How to Change a Rocker Light Switch

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Things You'll Need

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • Phillips head screwdriver

  • Pliers

  • Electrical Tape

  • Tools you might need: Wire Stripper, Eyeglass flathead screwdriver


If there is a black wire and a white wire attached to the old switch, put a small piece of black electrical tape to the top of the white wire. This will let you know both wires are hot and the white wire is not a neutral wire.


Always work with the power off.

If you are unsure if the power is out (broken switch) when removing the switch from the box, be sure not to touch the screws to the side of the box. This will cause a short and you will get a shock. Then use your tester to see if there is power.

Rocker switches are not only easy on the fingers, they modernize your room. These switches are easy to change and use the same wires as traditional switches, come in a variety of colors and styles and can be purchased as a single, double or triple switch. Since rocker switches are the same size as traditional switches they will fit into any existing switch box. You can purchase rocker switches that have an outlet on the bottom and with a universal switch cover, you have many options


Step 1

Turn off the power to the switch and light you are working on.

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Step 2

With a flathead screwdriver, unscrew the two screws that hold the faceplate to the switch. Remove the faceplate.


Step 3

Unscrew the two screws holding the old switch into the box. The screws generally have a small piece of cardboard on the back which keeps the screws from falling off the switch. Gently pull the switch from the box (the wires will still be attached and may be tucked in behind the switch). Use a screwdriver to loosen the top screw and remove the wire with the pliers. Do the same on the bottom screw. Remove the green ground wire attached to the switch.


Step 4

Take the new switch and loosen the screws on the sides. For a single switch, it does not matter which wire goes to which screw, except for the green screw. That is for the green or copper ground wire. With the pliers, slightly bend the exposed wire in the shape of a hook. Put one wire on one of the screws and tighten. Do the same for the other wire. Attach the green or copper ground wire to the green screw and tighten it down.


Step 5

Wrap a piece of electrical tape around the sides of the rocker light switch, making sure you cover the screws and any exposed wires. Gently push the switch back into the box. You may need to tuck in the wires. Be sure not to put too much stress on the wires or have them come off the screws. Secure the switch into the box by tightening the screws on the top and bottom of the switch.

Step 6

Put on a new cover plate and secure with the two small screws. Make sure you do not overtighten the screws or the plate will crack. Turn on the power.