I need to replace a broken light switch, and I can't figure out how to
remove the thing.
The switch is a "rocker" type, but the rocker covers the whole front
of the switch box. Thus there's no cover plate, and there are no
visible screws; just the rocker, and a thin black plastic bezel.
Here are some pictures:
There's got to be some way to remove the rocker so that I can get at
the screws that hold the switch in the box, but I can't figure it out.
Does anyone have experience with this type of switch?
I would first turn the light on.
Then start flipping breakers until it goes off.
Leave that breaker off, and tape it for safety.
Then use a sheetrock knife and cut a small border around it.
You may find some mounting screws.
Have a great day,
Thank you for pointing out a problem I hadn't considered. I'm
replacing the switch because it is broken. Because it is broken, I
can't turn the light on! How can I tell when I've found the right
I can test the potential across the terminals with a volt meter, but
it's a three-way switch, and I'm not sure how the test works with
them... at least, not sure enough to want to bet my life on it.
Maybe I will. But the switch frame is exactly the size of a standard
cover plate, and if I do that I'll have an open hole around the cover
plate when I'm done. I guess I could cover it with an oversize plate,
but that seems like a heck of a way to treat my house. My wife will
see me doing this -- I got a reputation to protect!
That sounds like the best approach so far. I still hope to hear from
someone who's done it, though.
Do you mean, it might not be attached except by paint? That doesn't
make sense from the POV of the designer of the switch. Also, I've can
rock the switch enough to break the paint bond, but the frame still
seems firmly attached.
Another possibility occurred to me. I could go to a real electrical
supply company, instead of a home improvement store, and see if they
know what to do. If they do I'll buy a switch from them.
Like Bill said... turn off the house at the breaker.
Hmmm. Maybe this thing _is_ a cover plate? Maybe the knife would
slide in flush with the wall, rather than going into the wall? Pop
that rocker off with a screwdriver. You'll learn what you need to
know. It's broken anyway...
I don't think that advice (to cut a hole in the drywall around the
switch) was very good. At least not until you've exhausted other, less
I would ass-u-me that either the rocker or the plastic frame around it
is removable, so as someone else said here, try to get something
underneath and pop it off. One or the other probably snaps in.
Think of it this way: someone had to install the damn thing, right? They
had to be able to pop something in to hold it, so the reverse--popping
it out--should work too.
The fashion in killing has an insouciant, flirty style this spring,
with the flaunting of well-defined muscle, wrapped in flags.
On Wed, 17 Nov 2010 10:49:29 -0800, David Nebenzahl
That was the trick. The rocker turned out to be a thin piece of molded
plastic that was held onto the switch mechanism by a couple of posts.
I didn't need a tool pop it off; fingernails were sufficient. And lo,
beneath the rocker were the screws.
So... I removed the main fuse plug and replaced the switch with a new
one. And the light still didn't go on.
It turned out that the ptjer three way switch was broken. The one we
never use. The one we didn't even know the location of. The one that
took a week to find, hidden behind the refrigerator.
Tonight I removed that one and replaced it with the unbroken one that
I originally replaced with a new one. Now the lights are on, and
I'm glad I removed the main fuse plug instead of playing with the
I'm also glad I didn't attack the original switch with a screwdriver.
Thanks to everyone for the advice.
Glad I could help.
I would follow the other poster's advice about shutting off the whole
Or maybe cover it with a picture and run a whole new circuit.
Maybe tell your wife, "Honey, I like learning and repairing things.
But we could call someone for this job.
What do you think?"
Have a great day,
*That looks like the light switch I had in my room as a kid. Just wedge a
small flat screwdriver behind the rocker and gently pry it out. The rocker
cover is installed by just pushing it onto the switch assembly mounted in
the electrical box.
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