DIY: How To Change A Light Switch In A Mobile Home
As a homeowner, you might decide at some point to change your light switch either for functional or aesthetical reasons. A light switch is a practical item and changing it is a DIY project you can do quickly on your own. There are so many varieties in the market that you don’t even have to go with the white plastic ones anymore. You can use a decorative switch to add some style to your mobile home. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to change a light switch in a mobile home.
What you must know before you learn how to change a light switch in a mobile home
The first and most important thing you have to understand is how the switch is wired. You see, when you turn on the light, power travels through the black or “hot” wire and then back to the white or “neutral” wire to the ground. The green-wrapped wires are a backup that diverts power away when there is an electrical fault. In most cases, there are two black wires attached to two terminal screws of the switch. The white wires, on the other hand, are connected to each other and then attached to the grounding screw of the switch.
Never take any risks when it comes to electricity. Before you begin any electrical work, you must take the necessary safety precautions. To start with, you should switch off power at the main consumer unit or fuse box. Isolate the circuit you intend to work on by removing the circuit fuse.
To avoid accidental replacement, you can put the circuit fuse in your pocket or somewhere you will not forget. Either way, you can also switch off the breaker and lock it if that’s possible. Check whether the circuit is dead using a socket or voltage tester. Doing this will confirm that it will be safe to work on. All finished electrical work should be tested with a tester to ensure that it is safe.
How to replace a one-way switch
A one-way switch is quite easy to replace, but make sure that you write down the wiring formation precisely before disconnecting. This way, you will be able to re-wire the new switch using the same directions. Keep track of the original screws as you don’t know when you might need them. Here’s a diagram that may be helpful.
Safety when it comes to earthing switches
The most common light switches are usually a combination of a metal mounting box and a plastic faceplate. If this is the case in your mobile home light switch, you have to connect the earth core to the earthing terminal at the mounting box. If the faceplate is metallic, the earth core runs to it first. In this case, you must run a small length of the core between the earthing terminals on the mounting box and the faceplate.
Insulate that small length with green or yellow sleeving. If both the faceplate and mounting box are plastic, run a sleeving over the bare cores the clamp the exposed ends with a connector. This way, earthing will be safe and easy.
First, make sure that the power is off by isolating the circuit and testing. Unscrew the faceplate and pull it off. Draw a diagram showing all the colors and number of wires connected to the terminals. Release terminal screws and pull cores from terminals. If the earth core is insulated well with green sleeving and connected to the mounting box, then leave it attached.
Connect the cores to the right terminals of your new switch and tighten the screws. Check to see that they clamp the cable cores firmly by giving them a slight tug. Fit some brown PVC over the blue core or black if the wires are old to show that it can be live.
Run yellow or green sleeving over the bare core of that switch drop cable then connect it to the earthing terminal of your mounting box. If you are dealing with a metal switch, ensure that you earth the faceplate.
Check to make sure that the connection is very secure then push the cables back in and secure the faceplate.
How to change a two-way switch
If you want to go from one way to two way, there are three critical things you should do. First, you must replace the old switch with a two-way switch. Then, install a new two-way switch at the other control point. Then link the two with core and earth cable. Run a cable between the two points and install a mounting box at the new position.
Safety when dealing with multi-switches
Be very cautious when dealing with multi-way switches. The lights they control ought to take power from the same circuit. If not wired correctly, they could take power from different circuits. If this happens, then there will still be live cable even when one circuit is isolated.
Isolate the circuit, remove the faceplate and disconnect the cables. You will likely find three terminals, meaning it is a two-way fitting.
The terminals will be named L1 and L2 or L1, L2, and L3. At the switch, fit some brown PVC over the blue core or the drop cable as well as the black and grey cores or the linking cable. You do this is to indicate they can be live.
Connect the brown and blue cores of the current switch drop cable and the grey and black cores of the new cable to pair the terminals. Take the linking cable brown core to the single terminal. Fit green or yellow sleeving on the bare earth cables then connect them to the mounting box earthing terminal.
Here’s a handy guide with diagrams for more information about three-way switches.
It’s not too late for a little D.I.Y
Learning how to change a light switch in a mobile home is not difficult. Just make sure you are safe at all times during the process. Once you’ve finished, you’ll have new and decorative light switch plates that will improve the look of your mobile home!