Fixing a broken switch on an electric fireplace should be as simple as replacing a switch for your lights. Because they’re flipped up and down so frequently, switches can fall into disrepair in as little as 5 years. If the switch was poorly installed in the first place, you may find yourself having problems even sooner, and the switch may even pose a safety threat. Because they are such simple mechanisms, the easiest way to fix a broken switch is often just to replace it altogether. Follow the steps described below to do it yourself and save the cost of an electrician’s visit.
Step 1 – Buy a New Switch
Before you get started, take a trip to the hardware store to look for a new switch to install on your electric fireplace. If your fireplace uses a dimmer switch, it’s recommended that you switch to the sturdier, more reliable toggle switch (the traditional kind of switch that you flick up and down). Another tip is to look for a switch that is labeled for commercial or industrial use. Although a little more expensive, this switch will last longer than other varieties.
Step 2 – Turn off the Circuit Breaker
Back at home, you’ll need to cut the power in order to ensure your safety as you work. Open the security panel on your circuit breakers and turn off the breaker that controls your electric fireplace, or if you have a fuse box, remove the appropriate fuse. Check the breaker with your volt tester to make sure the current is really off.
Step 3 – Remove the Old Switch
Use a small screwdriver to remove the screws on the top and bottom of the cover plate on the current switch. Remove the plate. Now, remove the screws that affix the old switch to the electrical box. Gently hold the electricity box and check behind it for broken or frayed wires. Carefully unscrew the terminal screw on the old switch and pull the wires out.
Step 4 – Install the New Switch
Trim any frayed or damaged wires with your wire cutters. Using your pliers, bend the wires so that they fit around the terminal screw of the new switch or insert them into the appropriate hole on the new switch, tightening the wires after you’ve done so. Screw the new switch onto the electrical box and make sure the switch is securely inserted straight into the wall. Screw the cover plate over the new switch.
Step 5 – Test the Fireplace
Go back to your circuit breaker or fuse box and restore power. Flip the new switch to see if your electric fireplace ignites. If it fails to ignite, use your voltage tester to test both the switch and the circuit breaker in order to ensure the device is receiving electricity. If the switch is receiving electricity and the fireplace still doesn’t work, your problem most likely lies elsewhere.