Where to buy outlets and switches


Old 01-21-17, 12:31 PM
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Where to buy outlets and switches

OK, so I'll admit that I have bought electrical outlets and typical light switches from Home Depot. The light switches seem to last about a year, before they start making popping sounds, so I don't trust them anymore.

Can anyone recommend a good online place to purchase outlets and light switches from?
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Old 01-21-17, 12:40 PM
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All switches will make a popping noise from time to time because you are opening or closing a set of contacts. It is normal for some arcing to occur and it happens with all switches, relays, and contactors.
Old 01-21-17, 12:51 PM
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What I find interesting is that the original switches in my house that I have never replaced never pop. Those switches are easily 40 years old. The new switches don't make any popping sound for about a year, and now they pop every time you use them. I hear what you're saying, but it just seems fishy to me.
Old 01-21-17, 01:16 PM
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What style switch? Are you buying the 79 specials from the bottom bin? What the stores sell are all UL listed and most work fine for many years but are not designed for abuse. Otherwise on the higher shelves they sell "commercial grade" devices which are a step up in durability. Look for that label. The big box stores sell the same as what you can get elsewhere but don't stock all combinations. The can special order most anything.

If you don't trust the big box stores your local electrical supply house should be a good source as well. Buy 10-packs to get the price down. Online try https://www.frostelectric.com/home or https://platt.com/
Old 01-21-17, 01:23 PM
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the original switches in my house that I have never replaced never pop. Those switches are easily 40 years old.
Could be mercury switches. I don't think they are sold for lighting any more because of environmental concerns.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_switch
Mercury switch

Mercury light switch from General Electric c. 1960, 120V 15A
Before the 1970s, mercury switches were popular.[according to whom?] Their cost was more than that of other designs, but they were totally silent in operation.[citation needed] The switch actuator tipped a sealed glass vial connected via flexible leads, causing a drop of liquid metallic mercury to roll from one end to the other. When it arrived at the contact end, the drop of mercury bridged a pair of contacts to complete the circuit. Many of these switches were also equipped with a neon lamp connected across the contacts, and thus in series with the electrical load. This caused the indicator to glow faintly when the switch was off, as an aid to finding the switch in a dark room.

While the glass vial was hermetically sealed, concerns about the release of toxic mercury when the switches were eventually damaged or disposed of led to the abandonment of this design for new products. In the United States there has never been any effort to recall or replace existing mercury switches, and millions of them remain in use. As worn-out or unwanted mercury switches are replaced, they are supposed to be brought to special depots for recycling.[citation needed] The uncontaminated mercury in the sealed glass vials has a modest salvage value; worn-out fluorescent tubes, mercury batteries, and mercury thermometers are often collected at the same locations for recycling.[8]
Old 01-22-17, 09:03 AM
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Initially I bought a bunch of the super cheap "79cent" ones. After thy started popping, I went back to Home Depot and explained to the employee what was happening. When I told him which ones I had bought, his reply was that those were crap, and to buy the higher-end ones. I bought a 10-pack, but just installed one or two to give them a test run. Six months later and they were popping already. I thought maybe it had to do with how I was Installing them, but it was really just a basic install for a light. Nothing fancy. I wasn't using the backstab method either, always used the terminals. Ugh.
Old 01-22-17, 09:06 AM
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That's interesting. What's funny about those switches is they are super loud whenever you use them. I don't mean the "popping" sound (because they don't pop), but just the CLICK of the switch. I guess because they're just old school.
Old 01-22-17, 09:51 AM
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Gee, I used the $.49 specials when they are on sale and never had one pop or arc. I think abuse is the key word here. Just a gentle flip up or down and not slamming it like kids sometimes do. Also if it's in constant use then maybe a motion switch is in order.
Old 01-22-17, 10:16 AM
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I'm certainly not dismissing any "poping" etc I'm just providing my experience.

Last March, our area flooded. Hundreds of homes flooded including ours. When we domo'd the house we decided to go back with a total remodel from ceiling to floor. One of those things in our plans was electrical including updating all outlets & switches. I purchased basic 10 packs of outlets, switches & face plates to replace every one in the house. This is an early 1970's home. We bought those "paddle" switches. I changed these in Sept & moved back in the house in early October. So far, I haven't noticed any "popping" or any other issues. I mentioned paddle switches because they seem to have a smoother operation (switching off & on) than the typical old style switches I replaced.

Again, I am not dismissing any problem you may have but these came from Home Depot & I havent experienced any issues with the paddle switches.

Good luck
Old 01-23-17, 05:31 PM
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You're asking about the decora ones, right? Definitely another option.

Although this one is illuminated....
Leviton Decora 15 Amp Illuminated Switch, White-R72-05611-2WS - The Home Depot

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