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What To Do If Your Switch Or Dimmer is Malfunctioning

Dimmer Switch light switch in Minnesota home

How to Troubleshoot Your Flickering or Nonfunctional Dimmer or Switch

Wall switches help keep your home lit and functional. In some homes, wall switches control more than lighting. They can also control wall outlets and integrated appliances such as garbage disposals. When homeowners spend their days flicking switches on and off, wear and tear is inevitable, and sometimes, malfunctions result.

However, malfunctioning switches don’t always pinpoint a problem with the switch itself but with your home’s electrical system at large. It’s important to figure out why your switch is malfunctioning so that you don’t waste time and money trying to fix the wrong thing. 

Accredited Electric is here to help with an easy-to-follow guide on how to troubleshoot your malfunctioning switches and dimmers. 

Check Your Switch or Dimmer

If your switch or dimmer is causing the issue, chances are you’ll see obvious signs of deterioration or defectivity. If your switch is wobbly or your dimmer doesn’t slide smoothly, its internal components are likely damaged. 

If your switch or dimmer emits a buzzing noise or displays any signs of burning or deformation, your switch is defective and needs to be replaced immediately. 

Check Your Lightbulbs and Outlets

If there’s nothing tangibly wrong with your switch or dimmer, start checking the easy stuff off your troubleshooting list. Make sure your light bulbs aren’t burnt out and that any lamps or appliances that are switch-regulated are functional on their own. 

Check Your Circuit Breaker

If your switch circuit isn’t working, the issue might be as straightforward as a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse. Check your electrical panel and find the corresponding breaker or fuse. If a breaker is tripped, simply reset it. If you discover a blown fuse, replace it with a precise match. Also, take time to consider how the circuit could be overloaded. 

Investigate Your Light Fixtures 

If your issue involves flickering or unresponsive lights, you must investigate the light fixture itself. Particularly its voltage requirements and transformer type. Light fixtures typically fall into two categories: standard voltage (120VAC) and low voltage. 

Standard voltage fixtures can work with dimmers tailored to specific bulb types. On the other hand, low-voltage fixtures rely on transformers to reduce electricity flow to a more manageable level, meaning you need to use magnetic or electronic switches. 

If your light fixture was designed for one type of switch but you’ve installed another, your lights may be flickering or failing altogether. 

How To Find the Right Switch for Your Fixture

Identifying a mismatch between the light fixture and its corresponding switch necessitates a switch replacement to ensure compatibility and functionality. The market offers a diverse range of dimmable switches suited to different lighting needs:

  • Incandescent dimmer switches are designed to handle the brightness of traditional incandescent bulbs within standard lighting setups.
  • Universal dimmer switches cater to a broad spectrum of bulb types, including LED, compact fluorescent, halogen, and incandescent,
  • For low-voltage lighting, specific magnetic and electronic switches are required. These switches are tailored to the unique needs of low-voltage systems and cannot be used interchangeably.
  • Hybrid universal switches accommodate both the wide array of standard bulb types and specialized low-voltage dimming for electronic and magnetic systems.

Check Your Wire Connections And Test Switch

The root cause of a malfunctioning switch might be an issue with your wiring connections. This includes both the connections within the switch itself and any circuit splices housed in the electrical box, which may have loosened over time, disrupting the flow of electricity. This is where you should talk to an electrician.

To check the condition of these connections, first turn off the power to the switch. Then, you will need to unscrew and remove the switch and shine a flashlight into the interior of the electrical box. This will allow you to identify compromised wires and loose connections. Reestablishing a secure connection to the switch could rectify the issue. 

After addressing any issues with loose connections, reposition the switch within the electrical box, secure the cover plate, reactivate the circuit, and proceed to test the switch’s functionality. Should the malfunction continue, deactivate the circuit power once more in preparation for removing and examining the switch itself. Remember to turn off the power to the switch when doing so! 

If you’ve gone through all these troubleshooting steps and your switches still aren’t working properly, you’ll need to remove the switch from the electrical box. Unless you have proper tools such as a continuity tester, please call an electrician to repair or replace your switch. 

Let Us Repair or Replace Your Dimmer Switch 

If your switch or dimmer isn’t working as it should, you might need to call a local Minnesota electrician. Experience the best in electrical work and customer service with Accredited Electric. 

Our dedicated team works tirelessly to ensure your project, big or small, is completed to perfection. Serving the Twin City Metro, Ramsey, and Anoka area, we’re here for all your residential and commercial electrical needs.

763-355-5898 – Don’t wait, reach out today for prompt and professional electrical solutions. For non-urgent inquiries, use our contact form for a one-business-day response. Trust us to light up your world safely and efficiently.