Shocked By Light Switch- How to Prevent Electric Switch Shock


If you have ever been shocked by a light switch, albeit to a small degree, you understand how it is an unpleasant experience. Electric shocks are due to two leading causes, as you’ll find out from this article. Further, we’ll explore ways of preventing electric charges from causing severe injuries by highlighting ways of fixing the problem. Let’s delve into it. 

Electric Shock Symptoms: Small Static Electric Charge Or Painful Shock

Static Electricity from a Doorknob

Static Electricity from a Doorknob

There are two leading causes of electric shocks: 

  1. Static electricity shock
  2. Direct electric shocks. 

Static shocks are minor shocks that result from a buildup of charges in our bodies during dry air weather. Thus, these charges cause a small zap upon touching the surface of objects (mostly metal objects). However, they don’t cause any internal injuries, although they’re unpleasant. 

You can eliminate static charges by installing a humidifier to increase moisture circulation. 

Meanwhile, current leakages in electrical systems and appliances cause direct electric shocks. Also, they are more painful and dangerous than static shocks. It would help if you fixed electrical wiring faults to curtail electrical shocks. 

What Causes Electrical Shock From Light Switch?

Electrical Shock Illustration

Electrical Shock Illustration

The following are the critical sources of electricity shocks from light switches: 

  1. Poor Grounding of the Switch
Electrical grounding is necessary to prevent shocks

Electrical grounding is necessary to prevent shocks

The 1999 National Electrical Code requires electricians to install a ground wire on all the switches. Primarily, light switches with defects are a good path for electricity, thus causing shocks. Nonetheless, grounding the switches solves the issue significantly. 

Proper grounding of electrical switches/ switch boxes enables efficient current leakage conduct. Thus, grounding minimizes electrical injury risk by cutting the electricity supply in case of a power surge/ unstable electricity. 

  1. Damaged House Wiring 
Damaged wires can cause shocks

Damaged wires can cause shocks.

Principally, electricity leaks are profound in houses with faulty wiring. Consequently, electric shocks are likely to be prevalent in such a case. 

Check out the presence of frayed wires, smoke, burning odors, and flickering lights as they show signs of wiring faults. Moreover, faulty wiring is possible if your switch warms after switching on the power. 

Frayed wiring means electricity losses, and the direct current from the parts can cause electric shock injury. 

  1. Metal Box Enclosure
A Metallic Switch Panel

A Metallic Switch Panel

You’re probably getting shocked because your switch has a metal surface enclosure. Remember, metals excellently conduct electricity. Thus, failure to ground a metal box ably will make them work any electricity leakage. 

Luckily, most electrical switches are plastic made and thus don’t cause severe shock unless you touch the metal parts. 

  1. Faulty Switch 
A Faulty Switch 

A Faulty Switch 

If your switch has defects, it’s likely to cause electric shocks. Also, the leakages’ effects vary depending on the type involved. Among the switch materials responsible for electrical leakages include capacitors and insulators. 

Here’s a glimpse of the three main kinds of leakages: 

1. High resistance leakages

Such leakages allow a relatively small amount of electricity to reach you upon touching the switches. 

2. Low resistance leakage

They are high current leakages and potentially dangerous owing to the high electrical energy they expend. 

3. Loose Connections

They happen when there are loose wires which make connections to the switch casing. Also, they are dangerous. 

  1. Wet Hands
Touching a switch with wet hands is dangerous

Touching a switch with wet hands is dangerous.

Touching an electric switch with wet hands can be dangerous as water is one of the best conductors of electricity. Hence, the moister your hands are, the riskier it is to suffer an electric shock. 

Moreover, the switch doesn’t necessarily have to be faulty to shock you if your hands are wet. Thus, you can get an electric shock even from a properly installed and functional switch as long as your hands are dripping wet. 

How To Fix A Light Switch That Shocks

Here are the key recommendations for dealing with a light switch that’s frequently shocking you. 

1. Replace the Light Switch

Fixing a light switch

Fixing a light switch

You can best fix a malfunctioning light switch by replacing it. Also, ensure you engage a wiring professional or electrician to set the new button to minimize the risk of a poor connection. 

Additionally, if you formerly had a metal switch, consider replacing it with a ceramic or plastic one to minimize the risk of shock. 

2. Ground the Light Switch

Like the previous recommendation, it is imperative to ask a professional to inspect if your switch is properly grounded. An electrician will inspect and highlight the key issues you should fix to limit the chance of electrical charge leakage. 

3. Use a Humidifier

A humidifier prevents static charges buildup

A humidifier prevents static charges buildup

As stated earlier, static shock doesn’t result from electrical outlet issues. Instead, dry air in the house is likely to induce the problem. Hence, installing a humidifier is handy in solving the issue. 

4. Check the Wiring and Outlets

Fix poor writing to prevent shocks.

Fix poor writing to prevent shocks.

The electrical currents causing the shock may be from a malfunctioning electrical outlet or faulty electrical appliance. Besides, poor/faulty wiring can lead to leakages, burning odors, and overheating electrical appliances and sockets. 

Hence, ask an electrician to check if the wiring is correctly done. Most electricians will conduct a thorough checkup to diagnose other causes of electrical leaks. 

What Do You Do If Someone Gets an Electric Shock From the Light Switch?

Helping an electric shock victim

Helping an electric shock victim

First, if someone gets shocked by electricity, you must remain calm as panic can cause further accidents. If the shock comes from a switch, disconnect the power supply first. 

Next, place the hurt individual on a platform to check the severity of the damage. If they have burnt skin, refrain from applying oils, butter, or direct ice to the affected part. 

Besides, if the victim has burned limbs, you should take them to a secure place, wrap the affected part with clean gauze bandages and seek medical help. 

What Measures To Take If the Light Switch Keeps Shocking You?

You can afford to ignore mild pain from light shocks, as the pain will eventually disappear. But, you need to remove metallic jewelry from your body as it may complicate the issue. 

Next, wash the part with mild soap and water and use a cold compress or ice on the burnt part to alleviate the swelling. If the damage is severe, it’s essential to seek medical advice, especially if you’re dealing with broken skin and severe symptoms such as vomiting. 


Electrical shocks from light switches are easy to prevent via the above means. Primarily, they result from electrical leakage and are easy to fix with the proper diagnosis. Static electricity, however, also causes shock, albeit mildly. That’s all for today, but contact us for further questions. 

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