Do You Need an Electrician to install a light switch?

Yes, Installing a light switch is a simple task, but it’s one you need to call an electrician for.  Annoying but true…  It is always wiser  to get a professional sparky in for what seems like a straight forward job as doing this work yourself might not be legal or allowed in you state, not to mention, 240 volts of electricity is dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Why ?

You may not know it, but unless your electrical work has been carried out by a certified electrician you are probably  breaking certain building codes and laws that could void your insurance should there ever be a problem.  Imagine your insurance company not paying because your wiring wasn’t professionally done.  It’s a nightmarish thought for most home owners, but it has happened.

light switching wiring diagram

If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, all the more reason to call us 😉

Having told you that, here are the steps we would follow to install, replace or move your light switches:

How we do it:

Step 1: Before you do anything, Turn OFF the electricity to the entire building at the ‘mains switch’ This is located in your home’s fuse box, (usually near the front door).

Step 2: carefully unscrew the cover plate for the light switch.  The screws are usually hidden under plates so you need to pop these off with a sharp instrument to get to the screw heads.

Step 3: before touching anything inside the switch we need to make 100% sure that there is no power left in the wires.  Many a home handyman has turned off the electricity supply only to be electrocuted by residual

current still left in the lines.

Step 4: On the back of the old light switch, check where the red and black wires are attached. You will need to reattach them to the new switch exactly the same way.

Step 5: Remove the wires from the old switch.

Step 6: Re-attach the wires from the old light switch to the same terminals in the new one.

Step 7: If the wiring has a green/yellow ground wire, attach it to the green terminal on the back of the new light switch.

Step 8:  Place the new switch back into the wall and screw it in using the same holes from the old one.


Final Thought from a Sydney Electrician:

Although I have listed the instructions above, this is what WE will do as licensed electricians in NSW.  I strongly recommend getting the experts (me) in to take care of this for you.  It is a fairly quick and therefore cheap job that when done properly using the right tools will ensure that you and your family are safe and that all the relevant laws have been adhered to.  This has the other major benefit of guaranteeing your insurance company can’t use your (possibly dodgy) handyman work to excuse not paying because some little wire somewhere wasn’t up to standard.

light switch internal diagram

This is what your light switch looks like behind that pretty cover