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Light Stays On When Switch is Off: 2 Causes & Fixes

You are about to go to sleep after a busy day.

You turn off the light. But the light doesn’t turn off!

Upon inspecting you find that despite the switch is off, the light keeps on.

Why does the light stay on when the switch is off?

This problem can happen because of different causes. Damaged switches can fail to turn off the light. Wrong wiring connections also keep the light on. This issue can be solved quickly. Replacing the damaged switch is the first action. If this doesn’t solve the problem, you’ll have to fix the wirings.

To solve this problem you will need more information. Below I have discussed the issue in detail. Kindly keep scrolling!

Why Does the Light Stay on When Switch is Off

Switches are used to control all the electrical appliances including the lights. But sometimes the lights do not turn off even after turning off the switches. This issue is different from flashing the lights on and off. 

To solve the problem, we must find the cause behind it. So let’s see the reasons that can cause the incident of lights staying on.

Wiring Issues 

The wrong connection in the wires can prevent the switches from functioning. Light bulbs get power from electricity. When the switch is turned off, it cut-offs the power, but if the connection is wrong, the current will still flow after turning the switch off.

The wiring issue happens when the hot wire is directly connected to the light. Hotwire conducts electricity. It must be linked with the bulb through a leg conductor. Otherwise, the light won’t synchronize with the switch. 

Problems in the Switch 

Another cause behind this problem is faulty switches. Switches can get damaged due to various reasons. The switch can melt down inside if the excess load is given to it. 

A 15 amps switch on a 20 amps circuit can blow the switch. This will make the switch lose and it will stop working. The light, as a result, won’t turn off with the switch.

These are the two most common issues that keep the light on. Now I will show you the ways of solving these problems.

How to Replace a Damaged Switch

The solution will become easy if the problem is in the switch. Because changing the switch is a lot easier than dealing with the wirings. See the below-given steps to change your damaged switch.

Step 1: Test the Switch 

You must be sure that the problem’s in the light switch first. To do that, test the switch in all the positions. Turn it on, then turn it off. Keep the switch in the middle position too. Observe the result in all these cases.

By troubleshooting the electrical switch you can identify the problem accurately. If the problem is in the switch, follow the next steps. Or else you will have to check the wiring issues.

Step 2: Turn Off the Power Supply

The first thing you have to do is to turn off the power. This is an essential requirement for doing any electrical job. Electricity is very powerful and can injure anyone badly. It can even cause fatal accidents. 

Step 3: Disconnect the Switch 

Then you have to disconnect the switch from the circuit board. Unscrew the switch with the help of a screwdriver. Then disconnect the wires. You have to be careful not to damage other wires near it.

Step 4: Install the New Switch 

Once you have unmounted the old switch, bring in the new one. Connect the wires in the back portion of the switch. Be sure to make the right connections. Or else the switch will function in a reverse way. After connecting the wires, screw in the switch. 

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If the problem of lights not turning off still prevails, you have to fix the wiring. Scroll below to see the steps for fixing the wire connection.

How to Fix Wire Connections

Fixing the wire connections is not hard if you know the proper way. See the guidelines below to do the task.

Step 1: Identify The Wires 

First, you have to identify all the wires. There are two wires inside the circuit board. The neutral or common wire and the hot or load wire. The hot wire is usually red or blue color. On the other hand, the neutral wire is white.

You can also use a voltage meter to find the hot wire. Use the voltage meter on the wires inside the circuit box. The hot wire will give a reading on the meter. The neutral wire will not give any reading.

Step 2: Neutral Wire Settings

Once you have identified the wires, it is time to place them in the correct slots. All the common wires must be clamped together. Then they are connected to the switch. 

There is a green screw on the switch for making this connection. Connect the common wires to this screw. Make sure the connection is tight and fixed. After the common wires, we will fix the hot ones.

Step 3: Hot Wire Settings

All the hot wires should be clamped together too. You can twist the wires together too. This will also do the job. Then the hot wires are to be connected to the switch. The brass terminal on the switch is used for this purpose.

This terminal is usually situated on the above portion of the switch. Connect the hot wires with this terminal. Now the connection will work as intended.

Step 4: Close the Circuit Box

Once you have fixed the wires, close the circuit box properly. This is an integral part of the fixing process. Make sure the wires don’t get tangled while closing the circuit box. The tangling of wires can cause problems in the function of the switch.

Once you are done, check the light. Turn the on and off switch and observe if it’s working. Hopefully, the light will not keep shining when the switch is off.

These are all the steps for fixing any wiring issue with the light and switches. Be careful while handling electricity. Always turn off the main switch before work to avoid any hazards.

In case you ever need to make a switched outlet hot all the time, it can be done quickly as well. You need to be careful and follow the steps for the procedure.


Can broken light switches cause a fire?

Yes, broken light switches cause a fire. However, the damaged switch is not directly responsible for the fire. it will get hot when used for a long time and start melting. This will cause a fire.

What happens if you wire a light wrong?

Wiring the light wrong will change the polarity. The light will still work. But the sleeve will get electrified instead of the inner portion. This will give shock anyone touching the light.

Why does my light switch have 3 sets of wires?

Your light switch has 3 wires because of the 3-way setup. This setup is used for using two different switches. You can turn the on/off the light from two separate places.