The other day, out of the blue, a light switch would not turn the light associated with it off. I flicked the switch up and down about a dozen times and the light would not turn off.

I'm a complete novice and don't know where to start. I took the light switch cover off to see if anything obvious jumped out at me, but no luck.


  • 3
    Bib's answer should do it. However, is this the ONLY switch that controls the light? If a 3 or 4-way then something could be wonky in one of the others.
    – topshot
    Sep 29, 2016 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


When a working switch ceases to be able to turn a light off, it is almost always a bad switch.

  1. Turn the power off at the circuit breaker.
  2. Remove the switch cover.
  3. Take a picture of how the wires connect to the switch
  4. Remove the old switch
  5. Replace with the same type of switch, matching wires
  6. Put cover back on
  7. Turn power back on

This assumes that only one switch controls the light. As noted in the comment by @topshot, if there are other switches in the circuit, such as a 3-way or 4-way setup, one of the other switches could be the problem.

That said, the comment by @AndrewMorton is good advice. Most of us became comfortable working with electricity by observing and asking questions (in person) of someone who knew a lot more than us. If you can get a friend to assist who knows even a bit about electricity, it would be a good idea. And never take on any risky task when no one else is around to call for the ambulance.

  • 3
    For a novice, it might be a good idea to have another adult present in case something goes wrong. Sep 29, 2016 at 18:46

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