Most of us don’t think about electrical switches much unless they stop working but they are among the many small electrical jobs do-it-yourselfers can do without too much trouble at all. It’s important to realize though that you should only replace switches with the same kind of like switch. That is, replace single pole switches with single pole switches and double pole switches with the like double pole switches.
Other types of electrical switches include 3-way switches, dimmer switches, time delay switches, time clock switches, pilot light switches, and electrical switches. You should choose the type of switch based on the type of fixture or type of job you want the item to do. For example, dimmer switches allow you to dim the lights, usually by turning a round dial mounted on the switch plate.
Dimmer switches allow you to conserve electricity by reducing the amount of light that is let into the room. Dimmer switches are considered romantic by many and can help to provide a romantic ambiance. The downside of dimmer switches is that they can only be used with incandescent lighting but they are a welcome addition to many homes.
Time Delay Switches come in handy for those times when you want to leave a light on for a brief time so you can see where you are going but you don’t want to have the light stay on. These come in handy if you get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and need the hall light to see where you are going. On returning to your bed, you can turn off the light and the time delay will give you the time you need to get back into bed yet it will still turn the light off for you.
Timeclock switches are the kind used when you want to program your lights to turn on and off at preset times. These switches come in handy when you are away from home for an extended time, like a vacation, and want your home to look like someone is home.
Electrical switches allow us to control how we want our homes and lives to function. When remodeling or considering home improvement projects, think about the ways that you use the rooms in your home and the way that you use the lights and determine whether any of the specialty switches mentioned will meet your needs. Switches are relatively easy to install and replace but if you want to replace one type of switch with another, you will need to start from scratch and rewire the receptacle. You cannot simply replace one type of switch with another using the existing wiring. Take care when installing or replacing switches and make sure the power is shut off before you begin.