Replacing switchplates is one of the easiest ways to brighten up a room and is often overlooked. The plate covering the electrical switch or outlet is often never even noticed as you reach out to turn a light on or off or plug in an appliance. They are also rarely remembered during daily cleaning routines. No wonder they accumulate dust, dirt and grime of everyday living.
There is no reason to limit yourself to a plain switchplate. An artistic, personal and decorative element can be brought into the area simply by choosing a switchplate that reflects your personal taste and style.
When looking for a replacement switchplate, keep in mind that they are also called wall plates and outlet covers.
Although a switchplate is used to give a pleasing appearance to the room by covering the electrical switches and wiring, don’t forget that the main purpose of the switchplate is to protect the electrical materials. Keep this in mind as you replace the cover so that an unfortunate mishap doesn’t occur.
Before attempting to remove the switchplate, turn off the switch and the power supply to the switch. Many people use rubber gloves as added protection.
The existing switchplate can be removed by unscrewing it from the wall. Most switchplates are held in place by only two screws, but many have more, depending on size, style and function.
Examine the wiring to the switch or outlet to make sure the replacement switchplate can be installed without touching any wiring. Pay special attention to the area behind the screw holes. Damaged wiring can cause an electrical short. This could lead to an electrical shock, fire or even an explosion.
Once you are confident that all is well within the cavity, place the new switchplate over the opening to make sure the switchplate is the proper size and design for the intended function. Then, adjust it so that the screw holes are aligned. Insert the screws just deep enough to hold the new lightswitch in place until all the screws have been inserted. Then, go back and tighten the screws. The screws don’t have to be too tight, as their only job is to keep the lightswitch in place.
As long as proper safety measures are taken, replacing a switchplate is an easy do it yourself project, that you can manage in a short amount of time, but that will give a whole new look to the room.