Over the weekend, one of my major triumphs was replacing four bad light switches in our house. The ones by the back kitchen door had been going out for some time now. The one that controlled the light in the hallway leading up to the studio was wiggly and made a sparking sound. The one that controlled the ceiling fan/light in the kitchen sometimes had to be poked and prodded before it would do anything.
We also had two dimmer switches, which were incompatible with my plan to switch completely over to CFLs.
I'd been meaning to address the light switch problems for at least a year, but hadn't gotten around to it. Finally, I took a trip to Home Depot, where I discovered that a light switch costs 54 cents. That's right: I fixed all the nagging electrical problems in my house for $2.08.
I wasn't inclined to play breaker BINGO, so I just shut off all the power to the house. We had a new breaker box put in this year and I doubt I'll ever get around to figuring out which breaker switch goes to which part of the house.
The kitchen switches were really ancient and I'm not completely satisfied that there isn't still the potential for a short. There was no sign of a ground wire anywhere. Thanks, previous owners! Naturally, both switches were completely different, so I had to think long and hard about how to wire them to the new switches. Fortunately, I got them both right on the first try.
The rheostats were much easier to replace because someone had already spliced new wiring (circa 1978) to the old black and white wires. The modern wiring was flexible and easy to strip after I cut the old switches off. Switches 3 and 4 went in quickly, so I had the power off for less than an hour.
I always love adding a new skill to my repertoire. Next on the list: installing a new ceiling fan in the bedroom. That shouldn't be too hard, should it?