The light switch in my bedroom just started having issues. Sometimes when you flip the switch off the light remains on or the light flickers as if it's still getting partial power.

The house is from 1947 so the wiring is old and all of the original electrical outlets are two prong. I'm assuming no ground is available near this switch, but I haven't taken it out to look.

I see various switches on Amazon but the differences aren't very clear and I'm not sure which one would be the best replacement. Also, not sure what type of wiring I have (aluminum vs copper) and if that matters.

Thanks for any advice!

old switch

  • 2
    You don't have aluminum wiring, I can tell you that much just from looking at the wire in your picture -- it's cloth-covered tinned copper. – ThreePhaseEel Apr 26 '20 at 22:57

That's a standard plain light switch. Any home store, electrical supply house, or even Wal-Mart can set you up with the right thing.

I realize that some people don't want to waste their Prime membership and so they buy everything on Amazon, but you should not buy electrical supplies on Amazon for 2 reasons:

  • Most Amazon listings are actually Amazon Marketplace, an eBay-like flea market of not-necessarily-cheap Chinese junk. It's very difficult to tell the difference. Even if you watch out for "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com", you can get counterfeits. Using cheap Chinese on mains electrical is not a good plan.

  • Electrical gear is low value, quite heavy, and stocked everywhere. A $50 roll of wire weighs 27 pounds. That switch you need is 60 cents. As such, the business doesn't lend itself to mail-order; so there are few people selling. This has a very adverse effect on price. Online generally, you have what I call the "I don't wanna ship it price", and on Prime you have the "third party sellers pay for Prime shipping" price.

If you really like the Amazon model, use Home Depot. Use their "Pickup in store" option. They'll cheerfully pick the order for you and text you when it's ready. At the store they have something like Amazon Locker where you can pick up your order contactless.

  • 100% agree. Except I can tell you that at least here (Maryland), they are so overloaded now on the "pickup in store" that most people don't get the locker pickup (I've used them in the past, but not since the pandemic). Now they have a drive-through pickup line, but it takes a while - everyone has the same bright idea. I also haven't figured out how HD determines which items are "deliver", which are "deliver if with a larger order" and which are "pickup only". No real pattern - not the obvious price-based division that you would expect. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Apr 27 '20 at 3:41
  • Thanks for the advice. I ended up ordering some light switches from Home Depot, and was able to get free shipping by including some other items that I needed. – Dan Apr 27 '20 at 19:51

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