A crackling noise coming out of a light switch is never a good sign. The least harmful thing to come out of it is a broken light switch. But the situation can lead to something much worse.
Why is a crackling light switch dangerous? And what are the extents of danger?
Crackling is a sure sign of arcing or sparking. And electrical sparks are a huge red flag. Prolonged sparking can lead to the melting of the plastic on the switch, and fuse the contacts together. Which will create a short circuit. And may even cause a fire in the worst-case scenario.
This article will thoroughly go through the dangers of a crackling light switch, what causes it and how to remedy it.
Why is the Light Switch Crackling?
The reasons behind a crackling light switch can range from a defective switch to a loose connection. So,why does my light switch crackle when I turn it off? Let’s explore the possibilities below.
Causes Behind A Crackling Light Switch
Not all switches are made the same way. Especially the cheaper ones. If you choose a cheaper alternative than a well-reputed product of a higher price, you are compromising in the same manner that they did.
In the making of these cheap products, a lot of compromises have to be made. Whether it is in quality control, materials, safety tests, and the list may go on.
And even switches of a higher price point may also have defects. It is not uncommon for a switch to be defective right out of the box.
If connections are not made secure during installation, over time they will slowly shift from the terminals. Causing improper connections.
And if is enough voltage, it may cause sparks and electrical arcs. Thus creating the familiar electrical crackles. Why is my ceiling light crackling? It could also be a result of a loose connection within the circuit.
Where there are sparks, there is heat. And heat is something we want to avoid in electrical circuitry.
Wear and Tear:
Switches are also prone to wear and tear. With time and excessive use, the contacts between the switches are worn down. Which when operated, causes the crackling noise we all hate.
So, if you are wondering why a light switch crackles when turned on, it might be the issue.
These are some of the most common culprits behind a crackling electrical switch. But it is not limited to only these few causes. There may be some other factors behind the issue.
Is a Crackling Light Switch Dangerous? Why?
A crackling light switch is a huge red flag. It can cause a switch to stop working, or it may even cause an electrical fire. Let’s discuss the dangers in further detail.
Can a popping light switch cause a fire? Yes. The popping or crackling is clearly due to sparks and arcing. It is the electrical arcs that cause the actual crackling sounds. Electrical arcing is similar to sparks.
It can generate heat. And if electrical arcs are sustained for a long time, they can even get hot enough to melt the plastic.
The terminals can then very slowly loosen due to the soft plastic, causing resistance at the point of connection. This in turn generates heat, which can start a fire.
A crackling switch can cause irregular voltage and current to pass through it. While some equipment might endure that, it is not a healthy endeavor for a piece of electrical equipment.
Having to deal with an irregular amount of current can cause sensitive electrical appliances to stop working. The cost of your appliances far exceeds that of a mere switch.
For example, when a light switch crackles when turned on, can cause the light bulb to malfunction and even stop working. GFCI outlets connected to light switches can reduce damage to some extent.
Possibility of Electrocution:
Though rare it is not impossible for the contacts to touch anything conductive, letting electricity flow through it. If touched, this can then cause a person to be electrocuted. The dangers of electrocution need not be mentioned here.
Therefore, it is a must to replace troublesome switches and electrical equipment as soon as possible to reduce damage as much as possible.
Troubleshooting a Crackling Light Switch
A crackling light switch needs to be tended to as soon as possible. Here’s how you can troubleshoot a crackling light switch.
- Replace the Switch: The first and foremost step in such a situation is to replace the switch immediately. You can find good quality light switches at prices even as low as $5 to $10. And they are simple to install as well. And even if you do hire a professional it shouldn’t cost much. However, the electricians’ charge to troubleshoot may vary based on locality and the task.
- Rewire the Circuit: If after the diagnosis, the culprit comes out to be a loose connection, the best course of action is to properly rewire the circuit once again. And this time make sure the connections are made as securely as possible. So that they may not slip away from the terminals as easily as before.
- Thorough Checkup: If the issue still persists after replacing the switch and rewiring, then the problem wasn’t really with the switch, to begin with. In such a case, it is highly advised to get your electrical wiring and circuitry thoroughly checked by a licensed professional.
If you wanted to know why is a crackling light switch dangerous, this article should have hopefully answered your question.
If you ever find any of your light switches crackling, get them looked at as soon as possible and replace them if needed.