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Without rewiring, how can I make my kitchen light switch easy to tell from the garbage disposal switch right next to it? Answered

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They're identical switches on the same switchbox. And they're on the back wall of the kitchen, so I'm always in the dark until I turn the kitchen light switch on - unless I turn the garbage disposal switch on by mistake, which just makes the darkness really loud. It's a rental and rewiring is not an option, but I could easily replace the switchplate if some different sort of switchplate would help. Any thoughts or ideas?

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Alicat5380Best Answer (author)2009-08-25

Try painting the switch itself glow in the dark (you can get nail polish now cause it's getting to be halloween) so you can see it at night. Then when you move you can use nail polish remover to remove it, or just be nice and leave it for the next tenant

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Gorfram (author)Alicat53802009-08-25

Thanks for the tip about nail polish :). I was thinking about some sort of glow-in-the-dark paint around the light switch, but didn't want to have to buy a jar of paint and a brush, etc. That, and maybe glue a circle of the "loop" side of hook-&-loop velcro around the garbage disposal switch, as sort of a "warning track"?

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seandogue (author)Gorfram2009-08-25

I like the velcro thingy...nice _touch_

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Gorfram (author)seandogue2009-08-25

:). That's what I was thinking. Since spatial reference and the limited visual input don't always do it for me, adding tactile input would give me a little more to work with.

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Alicat5380 (author)Gorfram2009-08-25

you can get self stick velcro :)

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Alicat5380 (author)Alicat53802009-08-25

you should be able to see the difference in the day too with it, cause it'll have a greenish-yellow tint to it instead of white

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Goodhart (author)2009-08-26

Going crude, you could just mark them with permanent markers, but that doesn't look so nice.

The "florescent paint or marker ideas are good, or just use BRIGHT red paint or dye on the disposal one. That would be simple enough.

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Goodhart (author)Goodhart2009-08-26

Hmm, I just thought of this.....even phosphorescent paints and dyes, tend to wear off in a few hours, after exposure to light. If you could just wire in a switch that glowed, that would be a perfect solution.

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seandogue (author)2009-08-25

screw some sort of guard over the disposal switch using the wall plate screws. Then your fingers will bang into it in the dark and help you avoid the wrong switch

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seandogue (author)seandogue2009-08-25

an unrolled aluminum can can be cut to make a guard...don't even need a drill, just a nail and hammer

open both the top and the bottom of a can of tuna...that ought to be long enough. then snip it down the length of the can and unfold...bend til it looks like this

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seandogue (author)seandogue2009-08-25

Erm, fold the edges over BEFORE you fold it, so you don't slice them when they hit the guard... make sure to hammer then flat to form a whatevrer it's called...like a hem in sewing...i think.

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Gorfram (author)seandogue2009-08-25

IIRRC from Jr. High Metalshop (a long, long time ago), it's called a "hem' in sheet metal work, too. :) The unrolled aluminum can is a good idea - I'd thought of making a guard before, but hadn't figured out what I might make it *from.*

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seandogue (author)Gorfram2009-08-26

You took metalshop in Jr. High? wow...I really wish I'd have been born just a few years after I was...right on the cusp of so much positive change. When I was in Jr high (only a few years prior to you, I believe (seandogue@50)), Men was mens and wymins was wymin, and dat's da way it wuz sapost ta be! ;)...HoMecK for da dames and shop for da boyz....Art was ok though....

Actually, they had already closed down the metalshop by the time I got to Jr High here in my suburb...only wood shop stayed active, except that I showed so much interest in the metal working tools that the shop teacher taught me to use a lathe and to weld (oxy acetylene)...using a set of asbestos bricks to weld on...lol!

but i digress...

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Goodhart (author)seandogue2009-08-26

Hmm, GoodHart@50 nearly 51, took both metal, woodworking, and Home Ecc. in school. You must have gone to a backwoods school J/K

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Goodhart (author)Goodhart2009-08-26

OY !!!! I said both then listed 3 things *sigh*

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Gorfram (author)seandogue2009-08-26

It was very much right on the point of the cusp (Gorfram@46), and I took it partly because I was already a staunch non-conformist who loved putting the contemporary lip service about girls having all the same opportunities as boys to the test. (That and... Home Ec? I already knew how to cook and sew, and was not ready to put up with some Grand Dragon of the Jr. High faculty telling me my seams weren't finished properly.) I was the only girl in the class, did not make any friends (social sucess was not a big factor anywhere in my Jr. High School experience), and didn't do particularly well grade-wise; but I did learn my way around the metal shop. Five years later, if enrolling in college as an Engineering major had been something that every bright young woman and her aunt did to please their parents and conform to expectations in general, I'd have probably felt compelled to find some completely different course of study :).

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seandogue (author)Gorfram2009-08-26

Home Ec...was just being silly with the spelling. My mom taught all of us (4 boys, 1 girl) to sew early on...I could sew buttons on my shirts by the age of 6 or so (I have a sewing machine but I'm a real hack...), and I was doing my own laundry by 11 or 12. Cooking was really early; 4 or 5, although only simple things like popcorn and oatmeal, boiling eggs...egalitarian way of life overall, though we didn't escape some of the trappings. My sister's pretty handy but she wasn't the type to weld or get really greasy rebuilding a bearing set on her bike for increased performance or swap an engine in a car...but she and her husband have restored quite a few homes and so although mechanics might not be her bag, she doesn't have to run to the plumber/plasterer/etc. every time she wants to do something...in general, she can handle power tools just like a guy when she wants.. And she wins hands down in baking. (though I'm catching up) My mom went back for a masters degree when I was in my early teens (~1972 was her first year I think, which might explain the laundry thing)...first was a bachelors in Zoology (we had a microscope on the dining room table for years and dead things on a table nearby for discussion) then masters in Psych...it was normal for us, and our near-local community, generally speaking, was more socially progressive than most at the time, though the city at large still with most of both feet planted in the old school of thought. (Cleveland east side suburb near the historical cultural hub - Museums, Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve Univ, etc.) (Hey, we weren't really allowed to take Home-Ec...It was frowned on and usually required a parent pushing it, just as girls in "boys' classes...and for boys and Home-Ec, the social cost would have been devastating at the time whether straight or otherwise... I can think of maybe one or two guys that took Home_Ec...but I wasn't one of them. Me, in retrospect, I would have liked to have had the opportunity, both for the food and for um...las Chiquitas ;) oh well, you're only young once.

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seandogue (author)seandogue2009-08-26
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Gorfram (author)Gorfram2009-08-25

Nice little diagram/sketch, BTW. :)

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seandogue (author)Gorfram2009-08-26

lol...not quite a 3d CAD model, but character-based drawings do the job sometimes :) Helps to have someone who has a degree of familiarity with the concept(s) in the first place.

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seandogue (author)Gorfram2009-08-26

I kinda like the nail polish and velcro ideas....best so far imo...My can solution was just a hacked derivative of the sort of switch guard one uses in industrial electronics. but ty.

I think your velcro is a much better way for tactile identification

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brandegor (author)2009-08-26

You could do something as simple as finding a longer screw for one of the holes in the wall plate and leave it protruding just a bit, so you'd easily feel it in the dark.

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Bigev (author)2009-08-25

Tape a couple of toothpicks to it to differentiate between them.

Longer = lights

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dilandou (author)2009-08-25

Beyond just remembering left from right, i would suggest maybe a raised label above just one of them. The light switch perhaps? Either that, or if the left one is the light, then L for Left and Light. If it's on the right, then Right for Light.

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Gorfram (author)dilandou2009-08-25

I can't reliably remember left from right* even after I've had my coffee. Which is after I've made coffee. Which is after I've found the correct switch for the kitchen light.
(Admittedly, being surprised by the noise of the garbage disposal does help wake me up a bit...)

(*No, I've never been in the military - why do you ask? ;)

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Gorfram (author)Gorfram2009-08-25

Sorry if I sounded grumpy - thanks for your answer :).

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