Why Is My Light Switch Sparking

Posted On: June 14, 2016

Every once in a while when you turn a light switch on or off, you might see a spark. It’s understandable if you’re a little bit concerned and thinking, “Why is my light switch sparking?” After all, electrical components can cause serious injuries if they aren’t functioning properly.

The last thing you want is for your light switch to be dangerous to use. Fortunately, a sparking light switch isn’t usually dangerous, although it is something you’ll want to have taken care of, whether it’s through repair or replacement.

Reasons Why Your Light Switch Is Sparking

The following are a few reasons why your light switch is sparking:

  • It’s a load spark – A load spark occurs when the electrical current flowing to your light switch doesn’t want to stop. Basically, when you switch the light switch off, the current will attempt to jump from one contact to the other as they separate. However, because there’s not enough voltage for the current to continue as the contacts separate even further, the current is extinguished. When this happens, it’s typically not something you need to worry about.
  • The light switch contacts are worn out – A sparking light switch results if one of the contacts in the light switch are simply worn out. This can happen due to age and the amount of wear and tear the light switch experienced as a result of repeated use. In this case, you’ll just need to have the light switch replaced.
  • There’s an excessive load – If the light switch is operating too many light fixtures, it can result in an excessive load, which can cause a spark. For example, if your light switch is rated at 10 amps but your circuit is rated for 15 amps, it will result in an excessive load. A normal light switch is typically rated at 10 amps, which should be enough for most homes. Problems with excessive loads generally happen in commercial settings, such as buildings that make use of a large number of fluorescent light fixtures. If this is the case, you’ll simply need to replace your current light switch with a higher capacity switch mechanism.
  • You’re moving the light switch too slowly – When you flip a light switch on or off, you need to be firm and direct – don’t hold it in a half way position. If you operate the switch too slowly, it means that the internal contacts remain just far enough apart to allow an arc to occur, which is why you are seeing a spark.

Light Switch Repair in Maryland, Virginia & Washington, DC

If you are having problems with a sparking light switch, we will send one of our experienced technicians to your property in order to perform a thorough inspection. We will identify the reason behind the spark and either repair or replace the light switch if necessary.

If you have any kind of electrical issues in your home or business, whether it’s a faulty light switch or a more serious problem, then be sure to schedule light switch repair in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC from Jaffe Electric.

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