Can a Light Switch Go Bad?

Most of us take our light switches for granted. We use them every day without even thinking about it. Light switches are intended to be used thousands and thousands of times without a problem. But just like other home fixtures, eventually, you may notice that a light switch just isn’t working right. 

You may be left wondering: can a light switch go bad? The answer is yes. Some signs of a bad light switch are obvious. For example, if there is a snap or pop when you flip it on. Other times, the signs are more subtle. Either way, when your light switch isn’t working, it is important to call a professional electrician to fix or replace it. 

Why Do Light Switches Go Bad?

Even though light switches are relatively simple machines, they still have several moving parts. Any time you have physical parts working over and over again for years, they are prone to wear and tear. Connections can become loose or dislodged, and plastic parts can weaken and break.

Another common cause of a light switch going bad is manufacturer defects. Light switch manufacturers produce millions of pieces every year. Sometimes, issues during the manufacturing process may not be uncovered until it is too late. 

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to detect a manufacturer defect, but a professional electrician will be able to pinpoint the problem and fix it or repair the switch.

Signs of a Bad Light Switch

Sometimes, it is obvious that a light switch has gone bad. For example, if the switch is not working, even after you’ve fixed a light bulb, you know the switch is bad. Here are some other signs that indicate your switch has reached the end of its life.


Now and then, you may see a small spark when you flip the light switch. A small spark is called a load arc and is relatively normal. It happens when the light switch connections are pulled away from each other. However, if there is a large spark that you can hear, that is not normal. 

You should never ignore sparks coming from your light switch. If you see a large spark, smoke, or scorch marks, it is time to replace your light switch right away. This type of light switch issue is a major fire hazard and is a disaster waiting to happen. Addressing fire hazards right away is critical, especially during the dry season in Littleton, CO.

Inconsistent Switch

An inconsistent light switch can be frustrating. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. There might be a delay or an occasional flicker. In rare instances, changing a light bulb may remedy an inconsistent switch. However, if your light switch is inconsistent, it has probably gone bad.

The bottom line is your light switch should work consistently without issue. If it is not, you will likely have to replace it sooner or later. An experienced electrician can troubleshoot your problem and fix or replace the broken parts.

Hot Switch

If your home has a dimmer switch, you may notice that it feels warm to the touch when you go to turn it off. This is perfectly normal. However, if you notice that same heat coming from a standard light switch, that is not normal. 

Regular light switches should always feel cool or be at room temperature. If it is any hotter than that, it is time for a new switch. Hot switches can mean that an internal switch component is overheating, which is a fire hazard and should be addressed right away.

Loud Switch

Properly functioning light switches do not make any noise. If you hear strange noises like popping or buzzing coming from the switch, that’s a good sign that the switch is bad. Sounds can come from misaligned components or bad wiring. 

Loud switches are not only annoying, but they can also become dangerous. If you hear any noises, you should contact a professional electrician right away. 

Call MZ Electric When You Have a Bad Switch

At MZ Electric, we often get asked: can a light switch go bad? We’ve replaced countless light switches in Littleton, CO, and we can help you, too.

Our electricians are fully licensed and have years of experience in the electrical industry. We know that dealing with an unexpected electrical issue can be a pain. We strive to complete all of our work as efficiently as possible so that you can get back to your routine. We’re happy to work around your schedule to remedy your electrical problem.

In addition to our efficient work, we also offer exceptionally competitive pricing. We never want you to put off replacing a light switch because of the cost. We also have several discounts available to teachers, military members, and seniors.

If you suspect one of your light switches has gone bad, don’t hesitate to reach out to MZ Electric. We will arrive on time and get your switch back to normal before you know it. Give us a call today!