Made in America Article

HOW TO INSTALL A SWITCH PLATE
A lot of homeowners are nervous about handling switch plate installation themselves. However, installing a light switch plate is a very easy - and safe - task that anybody can learn how to do. It only takes a few moments and basic tools that anyone owns.

One of the advantages to learning how to handle your own switch plate installation is the huge variety of switch designs and styles it opens up. At Arnev Products we offer dozens of different types and styles of switch plates beyond the ordinary off-white ones you find in most hardware stores. You can order brushed metal finish plates, real wooden switch plates and tons of different colors and looks, and within minutes you can swap them out for your old, boring plates. So how do you do it?

1. First, get your tools. Normally the only thing you will need is a single flat head screwdriver. The screws in light switch plates are normally easy to screw in and out and don't require a power tool. If you do use a power tool, make sure to go easy so you don't strip your screw.

2. Before you begin, turn off your power. Verify that you've hit the correct circuit breaker by trying to turn on the switch you're about to work on - if it still works, the power is still on. You won't have to touch any wires as part of switch plate installation, but it's important to play it safe anyway. Since the power is out, you may want a flashlight to make the next steps easier.

3. Unscrew the existing switch plate. It will have two flat head screws, one above the switch and one below. Larger plates may have four. Unscrew them all and set them aside.

4. Remove the old plate. Often it can just be lifted off by hand. Sometimes a layer of paint will hold it tight to the wall; gently use the tip of your screwdriver to pry it off. If your power is off, there is no risk of getting a shock.

5. Put on the new plate. It will fit over the switch exactly as the old one did - all plates come in standard sizes. Once the plate is in place, check to make sure it looks even. If you like, use a mini level to make sure.

6. Screw the plate in place. It will come with new screws though you can re-use the old ones if you like. An important tip: cover the switch plate with a cloth or folded newspaper as you screw it in. This way, if the screwdriver slips it won't scratch your new switch plate. Once you're almost done, re-check that it's level before you tighten the screws.

Voila! That's all that's involved in switch plate installation. Once you turn your power back on, you'll have a brand new light switch plate and a whole new sense of style in your home. But enough about switch plate installation - what style of light switch do you think you'll try in your house?