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Electrical switch plates for light fittings

Replacing a light switch may seem like a simple job, but it requires some basic electrical knowledge, and may end up becoming quite confusing if you don’t know what to do.

Always make sure that you read the instruction manual that comes with your new switch plate cover before you begin work, and if you don’t feel confident get a qualified electrician to do it instead.

Step One: Turn Off The Power Supply
Turn off the power at the fuse box before you do anything. If you switch the light on in the room that you’re working in then you can check that you’ve flipped the right switch.

Step Two: Remove the Light Switch Plate Cover
Using an insulated screwdriver, unscrew the screws from the front of the plate. Then pull it carefully towards you to reveal the connecting wires.

Step Three: Check the Switch Isn’t Live
Using a proprietary test lamp, or a two-pole voltage detector; test whether the wires are live. If they are, do not continue as it is not safe. Check that the power is off as in Step One. Providing they are not live, then you can proceed as normal.

Step Four: Note the Connecting Sequence
The number of wires may vary depending on the type of switch you have. Make a note of which wire connects to which terminal in case you forget or the instructions are confusing. Taking a picture with a mobile device may help.

Step Five: Disconnect The Switch Cover
Using your insulated screwdriver, disconnect the wires from the switch plate.

Step Six: Replacing Your Switch
Your new switch will have instructions on how to wire it correctly, so following these would be the best course of action. It should be wired in the same way as the previous switch cover, whether it was a one way switch, a two way switch or an intermediate switch. You should however, always make sure that the bare earth wire is covered by a green and yellow insulating sleeve. If there is no earth wire then do not use a metal plate cover. Live wires are ‘line conductors’ and need to be insulated with a brown cover.

If you’re interested in new light switches or plug plate covers, then you can buy Light Switches Online at Harbro in a variety of attractive styles that will add the finishing touches to your newly decorated room.

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