Light Switches

Light switches control the light fixtures in your home.  Good designers will locate these in easily reached wall positions where you first enter or leave a room. Most light switches are simple bi-pole (on/off) devices. Some are actually rheostats, or dimmers, Dimmers can be used to lower or raise the output level of the light fixtures.

To turn lights on and off from more than one location in a room, you need to wire three-way controls. Three-ways can be really handy for turning lights on and off in big rooms or long hallways.

Switches today come in two basic varieties. Standard and Decora. These come in a wide range of custom colors and configurations.

Specialty Light Switches

Motion or light level sensors. Use motion sensors to automatically operate area flood lights. Air switches. Use air switches to remotely control appliances from locations where electric wiring is impossible. An example would be the button switches for disposers that are located on countertops. They are also great for turning on hot tubs or bathtub jets. Light-level or photo-cell switches automatically turn lights on when it gets dark and off when it become the light level is bright.


In the late 1980’s Vantage Corporation came out with the first commercially successful computerized lighting control system. Since then whole house control technology has been steadily advancing. Today several serious players are offering extremely sophisticated product lines to the home market. Just about anything in your home (locks, blinds, fire pits, heating systems, pools, and on and on) can now be controlled by your phone or an iPad from anywhere in the world.

Control systems are especially attractive for large and complex homes where large numbers of accessories must be controlled. One drawback is it usually requires a professional to program and maintain these systems.

Image of Light switches
Decora light switches


  • 1x per year: Check each control and the cover plate surrounding it. Replace any broken or cracked cover plates. Tighten all loose screws. Note: Over-tightening can crack the cover plate. There is no way to repair defective switches. Have them replaced by licensed electrician right away.


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