With age, light switches and plugs can stop working or get broken and need to be replaced.
You might want to replace them for decorative purposes with those of a different color or style.
Now, All two-prong plugs should be replaced with grounded, three-prong plugs for safety purposes and to bring the home up to current building codes.
This house repair guide provides reliable information you can use to determine if this is a job you want to do on you own or if you’d be better served calling an electrician.
The job requires basic DIY skills, but does involve electricity, so that’s always a major concern.
An electrician will be able to replace a single outlet or plug in 10 to 30 minutes depending on the complexity of the job.
Our purpose here is to outline the scope of the project for you, so you can make the determination whether to do it yourself or to hire a contractor for the job.
The next section outlines what the work requires. Additional resources are provided below that give step-by-step instructions for DIY homeowners.
Light switch and plug replacement costs are given for both doing it yourself and hiring an electrician. We include the materials and tools you’ll need and their cost too.
These tips are designed as an overview of the project to give you a clear understanding of what it requires. Then, you’ll have the information you need to decide on DIY light switch or plug replacement or calling an electrician for the work.
Basic light switches and plugs are quite inexpensive – usually less than $4 each. A GFCI plug will cost $10 to $15. These Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter plugs are used in bathrooms, on countertops or other locations where water is available.
DIY Switch or Plug Replacement: The only tool you’ll need for simple replacement is a screwdriver ($2 to $5). A pair of pliers ($5 to $10) might come in handy to help secure the wires the screws on the back or side of the switch or plug.
Professional Light Switch or Outlet Repair: While it might take a professional just a few minutes to replace one outlet, most will have a minimum service charge of $80 to $125. If the cause of the problem is found not to be the switch or outlet, and more diagnostic work is involved, the cost of the repair might be significantly higher.
For example, if the light switches or outlets don’t work in an entire area, the cause might be a circuit in the electrical box. The estimated cost of the repair might exceed $200 for replacing a circuit.
How to Save Money on Electrical Repairs
If you’re not comfortable working with electricity, perhaps you have a friend with experience in these types of repairs. Asking that friend to help is a good way to cut costs.
When hiring an electrician, the best way to keep your costs as low as possible is to get several estimates for the repair from contractors that know they are competing for the work. It might also make sense to wait, if possible, until you have several small electrical repairs before hiring an electrician.
Here’s a short list of additional help for these common electrical repair jobs.
Electrician Medford Oregon – This post from an electrical contractor offers a good overview for how to replace a light switch.
Allstar Electrical Services – An electrical contractor provides an overview for wiring light switches that is somewhat technical but very helpful.
VisionAware – Good step-by-step instructions can be found here.
Acme How To – This post covers replacing a light switch with a dimmer control.
Be Jane – Pictures are included with this helpful blog post.