Everyone has encountered this moment. You flip the light switch, and nothing happens. The immediate thought is the simplest: the bulb is bad. But on some occasions, even changing the lightbulb isn’t enough to illuminate the room. So what’s wrong? It could be that your light switch is defective. Here’s how to tell if a light switch is bad in your home. And what to do about it. 

Warning Signs of Bad Light Switches

In most instances of defective light switches, there are warning signs or things to look for that tell of coming doom. Here are the most common: 

Temperamental lights

  • When you flip your light switch, does brightness immediately flood the room or does it take a moment for light to appear? If the latter is more common for you, that’s a tale-tell sign that your switch is going bad. Ultimately, the connections needed to supply electricity to the light bulb are failing or being interrupted. Experiencing temperamental lights means it’s time to look into replacing your switch, even if it’s only occasionally.

Switch resistance (or the lack thereof) 

  • More times than not, your fingers are the best detector of faulty light switches. If the switch level starts behaving differently—i.e. Loses its resistance or becomes difficult to flip—this is an indicator that the switch is worn. A replacement should be installed soon. 

Switch temperature

  • Another indicator from your fingers is temperature. If the switch becomes warm or warmer than usual, this is a very important sign of a defective switch. A switch should never be warm or hot to the touch. This is a sign of a short circuit or loose wiring and can lead to very serious hazards. Immediately replace the switch. 


  • You flip the switch and hear sounds. Defective light switches are known for making an array of odd noises. If you begin to hear unusual sounds when flipping the switch on or off, it’s time to replace your switch. 

Replacing the switch

While many try to undertake replacing their switches, it’s not something we recommend. As with any electrical projects, you need a trained and licensed professional to assess the situation as safely as possible. Trying to replace the switch yourself can result in serious harm or worse. A reliable electrician is your best option for your safety as well as the safety of your home. Plus, an electrician will be able to address any other electrical issues you might have in your home

Need a light switch replaced? Contact us! We help both residential and commercial properties to keep their electrical systems up-to-date and running smoothly and effectively.