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I have an older light switch in my basement that no longer works (when lifted to the "on" position there is no "click" and it simply falls back to the "off" position). I took off the faceplate intending to replace it but the markings on it were not a single rating, but instead contained what appears to be two sets of amp/volt ratings?

Older light switch in receptacle; faceplate text reads "5A 250V 10A 125V Und Lab Inc Insp A H & H USA"

If the text is not legible in the photo it reads:

5A 250V 10A 125V
UND LAB INC INSP
A. H. & H.
U.S.A.

I'm a bit confused by this-- When previously replacing light switches I've generally relied on simply replacing the switch with a new switch of the same rating as that seemed relatively safe. There are only two wires going in to the back of the switch, and as far as I am aware this is the only switch controlling the light in this room. I am wondering what kind of switch this is. I was hoping to replace it with this switch:

Newer light switch in packaging: 15A-120V

...which is rated 15A-120V. I am located in the Chicago area of the United States. I can take additional photographs or provide additional context upon request-- any assistance is appreciated.

  • 2
    Is your light 120V or 240V? (most are 120V). – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 24 '20 at 6:22
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica - My hunch is that it is 120V -- it is a bare bulb in plain socket, looks pretty "stock"/standard unfinished basement lighting. But I can probably verify that later today. – Alexander Nied Sep 24 '20 at 13:32
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Should be fine.

You are replacing a 10A rated switch with a 15A rated switch, assuming your lights are 120V as per normal. More is better there. especially since it's unlikely that the circuit is fused or breakered at 10A.

AIUI, all 110/115/120/125V devices in the US (at least the UL-Rated ones) are actually dual-rated up to 250V, though you might have to look at the device markings rather than the packaging to see that. In any case, the 125 .vs. 120V is just a matter of nominal rating, not "this will blow up if the voltage fluctuates to 121V"

It may lack the 250V marking specifically because it's a "lighted handle switch" and thus can only operate on the one voltage, correctly. Depending on how the "lighted handle feature" is configured, you might get strange behaviors if the lights are LEDs rather than incandescents.

  • Just looked at some of my "non-lighted" Leviton switches, all of which are rated 15A 120-277 V as a reference point (per the way they are marked, the full 15A all the way from 120 to to 277V.) – Ecnerwal Sep 24 '20 at 15:54
  • If you want to match the look of the original switch, you might consider a 20A switch instead of 15A, as they tend to be a bit chunkier on the toggle. – Eric Hauenstein Sep 24 '20 at 19:08
  • Perfect, thanks very much! The switch is now replaced with zero performance issues. however, when the incandescent that is in there eventually goes out I'm going to replace it with an LED, so if there's any flicker I'll make sure to remember this point about the lighted handle feature. – Alexander Nied Oct 10 '20 at 18:23
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In Chicago you can ignore the 240V rating. Some places (like Europe) use 240V power, but not the U.S. To answer your question, the old switch is just a plain old boring single pole light switch. The new switch will work fine.

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5 Amp X 250 Volt = 1250 Watts.

10 Amp X 125 Volt = 1250 Watts.

The switch is rated for 1250 Watts and they did the math for you!

(someone may point out that 1 Amp at 1250 Volts isn't a good idea because of potential arcing and they would be right)

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