Did you know that defective light switches are one of the most common reasons for light failures? It is hardly surprising: a light switch is used at least two times daily, and about one thousand times annually, wearing out switch parts and loosening wire connections. To ensure that light switches will not fail you and stand up to constant and heavy use, they need to be high-quality and durable. Since there are so many types of light switches, it is also important to choose one that will suit your particular needs.
There are three types of switches identified by the number of terminals: single-pole, three-way, and four-way. The most common kind is the single-pole switch. It controls just one light or set of lights from one point and has two terminals. Three-way switches are a bit trickier: they have three terminals and are always used in pairs, allowing the home owner to control a lighting fixture from two locations. This type of light switches is especially convenient to use at the bottom or top of a staircase. Four-way switches have four terminals and are always accompanied by a pair of three-way switches to control the lighting fixture from three or more locations. These models come in handy in a home with large rooms and numerous living areas.
Light switches also vary depending on the movement a person uses to turn the light on and off. Toggle switches are the most common type and can be operated by flipping a single lever up or down. Another type, rocker switches, can be used simply my pressing one of the two sides of the switch down. They are easy to operate even if you arms are full of groceries. Pushbutton switches are also a popular model and can be found in many households. They are activated with a button that is pressed and released and are often illuminated.
If simple switches do not quite satisfy you, there are more sophisticated kinds of light switches called specialty switches. These units are designed to make your life more convenient and comfortable and include dimmer switches, combination switches, illuminated switches and pilot-light switches that glow when power flows to a light fixture that cannot be seen from the switching point. More complex types include timer switches and models with motions sensors that can detect movement and turn the light on and off.
Combined with proper light fixtures, investing in a high quality light switch will result in lower maintenance costs and more stable lighting in your home.
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