With the recent release of the new Nintendo Switch and all the hype gone, I would like to talk about a different kind of switch, one most of us are more familiar with. I am, of course, talking about the light switch. The light switch may not be as fun as the Nintendo Switch (try telling that to a 3 year old), just as much thought goes into the design of a quality light switch and over the years the results are nothing short of amazing. You are probably wandering why is this guy so fascinated with light switches. Now that I think about it, yeah, I guess it is kinda weird since most people don’t give the switch much thought. The thing is, I am a handyperson and I always appreciate simple yet genius solutions to everyday challenges and by knowing how light switches work and how to use them you can mage some significant improvements to the way the lighting in your home works.
Anyway, nowadays you can find a huge range of electrical switches for sale with a different design and levels of quality. So, the next time you are browsing through electrical switches for sale online or in your local hardware store, here are some things you might want to know.
There are really just three basic types of wall switches that are used to control light (not in a superhero kind of way, just the light fixtures in your home) and choosing between them depends on how you want to be able to control your lighting. So, there is the regular On/Off switch, a 3-way switch, and a 4-way switch. Light switches also come in different styles and colors to match your home décor, but the most important thing after all is to choose the switch that does exactly what you need it to do.
As you can tell, the On/Off switch does exactly that – it turns the light on or off from a single location which is why they are also known as single location switches (I know, they need to tone it down with the creative names). The technical name for On/Off switches is a single-pole, single-throw(SPST) switch and although it sounds a bit complicated, it basically means that only one wire can be connected to it and it only connects to one other wire (the one going to your light). The inside of an On/Off switch is a spring-loaded gate which opens and closes the circuit, allowing the power to flow to the light or interrupting it.
Now, I wish I could tell you more about 3-way and 4-way switches, but the thing is, they are way too complicated even for me, and it is best not to mess around with them and leave it to a professional to sort it out. Basically, this type of switch configurations allow you to control one light with separate switches. Whenever you turn one of the switches, the light changes its state. If it is on it turn off and the other way around.
And finally, have in mind that light switch locations need to be intuitive to avoid bumping into every object in the dark trying to find a switch.