Why Light Switch Doesn't Work but Outlets do

Why Light Switch Doesn’t Work but Outlets do?

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Every day I come back from work at 6 o’clock in the evening. So, the first thing I have to do after entering the apartment is turn the light on. But yesterday the light was not turning on though I had turned the switch on. It was annoying as I had to spend the night with the table lamplight.

Anyways, I have checked the board precisely today morning. There was current on the board, and the outlet was working well. But the light didn’t turn on as the switch is not working.

Well, I have identified multiple reasons for that error. That’s why I decided to write this blog. I will talk about all these reasons for light switch failure. In addition, you will get to know how to troubleshoot all these problems. So, keep reading till the end.

Why light switch doesn’t work but outlets do?

Most of the time, the switch stop working because of the circuit breaker. The circuit breaker is a safety system. When there is an overload, it breaks the circuit. Thus, it prevents the current from reaching the board and saves the appliances from damage. In this case, you can simply turn on the circuit switch again to fix the problem.

But, here the outlet is working. That means the current is flowing through the electric board. So, the problem is on the switch or after the switch. In this case, you have to understand and identify the problem and get a fix accordingly.

1. Damaged switch:

Sometimes, the switch is damaged inside. It happens when the elements inside the switch are misplaced. Because of the displacement of the component, a loose connection occurs there. Thus, the spark is created inside the switch, eventually getting damaged. However, it’s easy to identify this type of damage. When you turn the switch on, a buzzing sound can come out. It indicates severe switch damage.

2. Faulty wiring:

If the switch has no problem, go ahead and check the wiring. Sometimes the light switch stops working due to a minor loose connection. Besides, the wiring can be damaged inside. To identify faulty wiring, get a Multimeter. Then determine the voltage for both switch point and bulb point. If there is a voltage on the switch point and no voltage on the light point, the wiring is faulty.

3. Fused bulb:

Most of the time, we blame the switch itself when it is not working. But sometimes, the bulb itself is fused, and it seems the switch is not working. So, it’s better to check the bulb first before opening the board.

Tip: You can easily determine if the outlet is working or not. For that, get a Voltage Tester. Then, turn it on and penetrate inside the socket. The indicator light should flash up for a particular hole. If it doesn’t flash up for any hole, the outlet is not working.

A Quick fix to light switch failure

You have learned that sometimes the light switch doesn’t work due to other components’ failure. So, you must go for a quick fix before considering an advanced repair job. Here are two tips for a quick fix.

  1. Rectifying disconnection: Firstly, you must check the wiring connections. Identify if there is any disconnection. If you find any, rectify them first. If the problem gets fixed after it, that’s great. Otherwise, go to the next steps.
  1. Replace the light: Sometimes, it seems the light switch doesn’t work when the light itself is fused. For that, you should try another bulb. If the new bulb lights up, replace the old one.

How to troubleshoot faulty light switch

How to troubleshoot faulty light switch

If the light switch gets fixed after the quick fix, that’s great. Otherwise, follow the advanced troubleshooting below. However, you will need some tools and supplies before starting the repair job. Here is the list…

  1. Screwdriver Set
  2. Wirecutter
  3. Razor Blade
  4. Scotch Tape
  5. Voltage Tester
  6. Multimeter (optional)

You can get these tools simply by clicking on the blue text. So, get them now and start the real job ASAP.

Tip-1: Swap the light switch

When the light switch is damaged inside, it’s best to swap it up. Because a damaged switch is a threat to safety. Moreover, it can harm your other electrical components. So, it’s better not to use that switch even if it works. However, follow the below steps to swap the light switch safely and correctly.

  1. Firstly, you must prevent electricity from reaching the board. For that, turn the circuit breaker off. If there are separate circuit breaker switches for every room, identify the room number and turn off the corresponding circuit breaker.
  1. Secondly, remove the faceplate. For that, unscrew the screws with a flat head screwdriver. Then separate the plate from the wall with a razor blade. Do it carefully, or you may break the plate.
  1. Thirdly, remove the switch. But before that, check if the current is still passing through. Use the voltage tester for the job. However, if the board is out of electricity, then it’s safe to remove the switch. Now, unscrew the switch from the board. Also, remove the washer if there is any.
  1. Fourthly, separate the wiring from the switch. At first, loosen the grounding screw and remove the ground wiring. Similarly, remove the phase and neutral wiring.
  1. Fifthly, install the new switch. You can get  Kasa Smart Light Switch. It’s a best seller item and offers Alexa integration. Anyways, identify the up and downside of the switch. Now, connect the wiring to the previous setup. For that, uncoat the cables with a wirecutter if necessary. Then, connect them with the corresponding point. Make sure the wiring doesn’t get misplaced while tightening the screw. Also, don’t overtighten them, or it can damage the plastic insulator.
  1. Lastly, reinstall the component. Before that, you can check if the switch is working now or not. For that, turn the circuit breaker on for a while and see if the switch can turn the light on or not. However, don’t touch the wiring or connecting point in this process. You can do the test after installing the switch. Anyways, reinstall the switch, washer, and faceplate consequently as you have removed it. That’s it. Don’t overtighten the faceplate, or it can break.
Caution: Never ever touch any component or cable bare-handed. First, make sure there is no current flowing throw the component, then touch it. For that, keep testing them with a voltage tester before even touching them. You can also wear dry pair of plastic slippers to avoid grounding and save you from electric shock.

Tip-2: Replace the wiring

If the electric cable has problems, there is no better way than to replace it. The electric cable comes with various materials, diameters, and voltage limits. So, it’s beet6er to call an electrician and consult which wiring to get. Then you can check out Various Kinds of Electric Wiring and get one that is compatible with your appliances. However, I suggest not to DIY the job if you have little knowledge about it.

Bonus Tip: When the light switch doesn’t work, you must troubleshoot it. But, you can take some preventive steps to avoid this kind of inconvenience. One of these steps is using the best quality components. Thus, you can prevent frequent light switch failure. Moreover, it can decrease the risk of short circuit and fire accidents.

Frequently Asked Questions about light switch

Can light switches and outlets be on the same circuit?

Yes! You can put the light switch and outlets on the same circuit. It won’t be an issue. But, you can’t access them separately. That means if you turn the circuit breaker off, both the switch and outlet will be turned off. It can be a limitation, in my opinion.

Is a switch considered an outlet?

Not at all. An outlet does the job of supplying electricity to any electronic appliance. Though you can turn the appliance on/off by plugging/unplugging, an outlet won’t be considered a switch. Similarly, a switch is used to control the appliances. It can’t supply electricity to the appliances. I only complete/break the circuit to turn them on/off. So, a switch can’t be considered an outlet.


We never think about how necessary the light is until it fails. Yesterday night was horrible for me. I had to have my dinner with a table lamp. I should thank god as the outlet is still working. Otherwise, it could be challenging to fix.

However, I have shared the problem based on my own experience. You experience the same situation differently. That’s why I have discussed every possible reason the light switch fails for. You can identify your problem and get a solution accordingly.

I hope the lights keep illuminating your room.


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