Instructables
Picture of Light Switch Guard
Do you have a wall toggle switch that always should be on? Do you or your family members forget and turn it off? I do. That is where this 5 minute fix came from. This is an instructable that is so simple, I almost did not take the time to post it.

I have a 5 year old (and wife, ahem!) that cannot remember which switch should turn off what. I have a 2 gang box with 2 switches. One is a 3 way switch for lights and the other is power to a ceiling fan that is controlled by a remote. When the switch for the ceiling fan is off, the remote obviously doesn't work. This defeats the whole purpose of the remote. I then have to get up and walk over to the switch and turn it back on before I use the remote. After adding labels which my child did not read and tape which looked terrible and did not last, I added the following "fix". I have not had a problem since.

I also have a similar set up where another 2 gang box has a switch for an electric fireplace and another for the blower that should always stay on since it has a heat-sensing switch at the plug.
 
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Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts
1. About 1-2 inches of color-coordinated wire for your switch
2. Screw terminal for wire
3. A paint pen or small amount of paint to cover chrome parts of terminal.

Step 2: Cut off the plastic from screw terminal

Picture of Cut off the plastic from screw terminal
Take a razor or Dremel and cut off the plastic insulation from the wire screw terminal.

Step 3: Remove top screw (or bottom screw for always off) from light switch plate

Picture of Remove top screw (or bottom screw for always off) from light switch plate

Step 4: Line up screw terminal

Picture of Line up screw terminal
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  • Line up the screw terminal and estimate the length of wire needed to hold up the switch.
  • Take off the screw terminal, clamp down the wires and cut off the excess wire that extends above the terminal with a razor.
  • Take a color-coordinated paint pen and paint the chrome parts to match the color of the switch.
  • Let it dry and replace over switch and replace screw.

Yay. You are done. Hold off telling your child for the 35th time or programing the divorce attorney number on speed dial.
hammer98768 months ago

Brilliant! Thanks! Much better than any solution I could come up with. And the tape looks so tacky.

tape? tacky? I git jokes!

Another option is to just connect the two wires going to the switch with a wire nut. Then either put everything back together and use the switch as a blank (as it will no longer work now) or get a blank plat to cover the open and remove the switch all together.

You idea is much simpler and a bit easier, but if you didn't want anything visible...

paqrat8 months ago

This is freaking brilliant! I have a switch that powers an electric clock. I keep forgetting and turning it off which makes me set the clock yet again. This is getting made up tomorrow. Thank you.

jlambert8 months ago

If you don't have the wire connectors on hand and plan to buy them you can get them without insulation.

f5mando8 months ago

You can't see or hear me, but I am applauding. Well, I was before I started typing this, which interrupted the applause.. Thanks for sharing this bit of genius!

"Common sense is genius in its working clothes".
-- Albert Einstein

thebeatonpath8 months ago

WOW! So simple, yet so clever! I think we all have one of those switches.

csherrit8 months ago

I'll give it a try, hopefully the screws are long enough to reach the switch once the wire connector is placed.

lbrewer428 months ago

"Delightful" to read. VERY bright idea - ingenious!

zawy8 months ago

Awesome

dlindstrom8 months ago

This is what instructables is all about!!!

angelleah19818 months ago

Great idea. I think your instructable looks a lot better than those big plastic things that will probably end up getting dingy looking from running into it turning the other switch on and off. Good job!

grantlairdjr8 months ago

In the past, I usually put the packing or duct tape over it -- it works for me. Also, I put labels on each switch so we won't get confused which one is and as well as led light inside the switch itself. (You can find it at Home Depot as well) Very nice Instructables tho!!

dfuller18 months ago

I love this idea. It's simple, and if you have the parts at home it would be really quick to put together. I use a commercial product called the Switch Guard (http://www.ebay.com/bhp/switch-guard) and like the fact that the switch is still accessible. There is also one made for the Decora style rocker switches (http://www.amazon.com/Light-Switch-Guard-Decora-Shields/dp/B00DUBOSTA/ref=pd_sxp_grid_i_0_0). I don't sell or benefit from these products in any way - just figure if someone has to go for parts anyway, why not be aware of the alternatives available?

nyckid8 months ago

www.homedepot.com/p/100628705

"The Amerelle Switch Guards (2-Pack) cover standard toggle
switches to help prevent the accidental turning on or off of devices.
The sturdy plastic construction provides strength and durability."

ludionis8 months ago
I commend your ingenuity! If you have any basic skill with wiring, it would not be difficult to remove that switch entirely and replace with a receptacle, eliminating the chance the switch would ever be hit and adding usefulness simultaneously.
kreynolds68 months ago

I just wanted to remind everyone that you can jumper the switch inside the box and leave the switch in place if you think that is aesthetically pleasing.

...only no creative noose. =-)

coolstuff148 months ago

Love it!

evanjva18 months ago

Great for DIY but for those not mechanically inclined Home Depot sells a 2 pack of covers in white and ivory.

DanYHKim8 months ago

I had an apartment with an outlet controlled by a light switch. The outlet was meant to power a lamp, so you could turn on the lamp on entering the room. I instead powered the computer station from this outlet, and so needed to keep the switch on. I had a plastic blister pack from some product that I had bought. The blister was just the right size to cover the switch when fixed to the switchplate using the screw, as you showed here. This covered the switch with an 'invisible shield' to keep it from being accidentally turned off.

Your solution is nice and unobtrusive, not detracting from the appearance of the wall switch, although it does remind me of a hangman's noose.

maka DanYHKim8 months ago

This is exactly the scenario I will use this Instructable for. Both bedrooms in my apartment have such switches (and no overhead lights, so the switches *are* used for lamps). The living room does as well, but also has a ceiling fan with lights, so the lamp switch is not needed, but is needed for electronics. Right now it has a piece of tape over it - effective but ugly. I think I have everything I need for this one in my toolbox, yay! Thanks for a simple, brilliant I'ble.

elink53198 months ago

Simple but efficient and very clever, thanks for posting.

jtmundy8 months ago

Great idea.

I have the opposite problem - attic light gets switched on/ left on.

All my switches are the flat rocker type, so I think a flat tab would block the switch, but swivel out of the way if needed.

You need a press-to-open "door switch", placed to be operated by the loft hatch when it is closed. This is a spring-loaded switch that goes off when pressed. These are cheaply available from electrical shops. It would be connected in series with the light. Closing the hatch or door will open the switch and turn off the light.

bremus8 months ago

This is abosultely marvelous. Can't believe how simple and awesome this is.

Remag12348 months ago

Truly a stroke of Genius.........Simple is the key here. Thank you.

scaprara8 months ago

Fantastic idea! I was in need of this very idea yesterday! I'll be fixing that issue tonight.

doctorkred8 months ago

Estos son los "Instructables" que me gustan, sencillos, útiles e ingeniosos.

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These are the "Instructables" I like, simple, useful and clever.

kittycait420q8 months ago
Excellent idea!!
earz_cd8 months ago
Genius!!!
MisterBukweet8 months ago

WOW!! this is a simple fix... and it could have bankrupt my divorce attorney.. sigh..

flyingpuppy8 months ago
excellent solution. Visitors keep ripping off the piece of tape I have on my switch. : )
pmasters8 months ago
love it! See, I can't teach my wife that the light switch works both ways ;) other than that, I have the notorious wall switch as well. It controls a outlet with my internet equipment attached to it. As we live in a apt, we can't just change a outlet out. Thank you for a great idea.
makes me wonder why you need a switch for something that should always be on? =P
cweller48 months ago
I usually just put a peice of clear packing tape over the switch to hold it in place for a quick fix but this looks much cleaner!
nsimon38 months ago
Nice. Simple and clean looking!
Todd Gehris8 months ago
That is great!
Rouverius8 months ago

Clever!

Some other alternative would be to bypass the fan and hard wire directly to the hot wire. But if you need to work on the fan, you'd need to flip the breaker. Plus you would be stuck with an unused switch on the wall.

The other idea is a lockable switch which has a slot where the toggle should go. The key fits in the slot and acts as the toggle. Problem here would be cost and finding the key when you need it.

So, you have a reversible solution that is very inexpensive. Nice work.

M3G8 months ago
Genius!
a33y138 months ago
Good for little kids