Switchplates are all around your home. They’re in every room, and some places will have several switch plate covers. But as typical as they might be in your home, you may not know precisely what they’re there for. The truth is, they’re more than just a frame for your light switches. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of these standard household fixtures.
Covering Electrical Wires
If you’ve ever removed your wall plates (which isn’t usually a common thing to do), you’ve seen what’s behind them. Those covers are there to conceal the hollow space and the wires behind the light switches. Not only would it be unappealing to see that hole and all those wires in every room, but it would be a hazard as well.
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably had a hard enough time keeping your kids from playing with outlets and light switches. Could you imagine how difficult it would be to keep them out of those wires if they were exposed? Even brushing against those wires accidentally while using the switch could be an electrical or fire hazard.
Keeping Wires Accessible
Now, you might be wondering, “Why have the hole there at all? Why not add more drywall around the switch?” While that might sound like a good idea, it’s not very practical. You may not remove those wall plate covers very often, but it is necessary to access the wires from time to time. If you have an electrical issue or decide to upgrade your lighting (smart lights, dimmer switches, etc.), you’ll need to be able to access those wires.
A removable wall plate makes it easy for you or an electrician to access the wires to upgrade your switches or address electrical issues. Just make sure you don’t try handling an electrical problem beyond your level of expertise, and always shut off electricity to the area before touching any wires.
Finally, switch plates serve an aesthetic purpose as well. While you might be used to seeing white switch plate covers in every house, this wasn’t always the style. Preferred styles for switch plates have changed over the years. In the past, people preferred to blend their wall plates in with the walls, so they’d often apply wallpaper over the plate covers. People purchase decorative switch plates that stand out and make a statement or complement their decorating style.
Switchplate covers are essential for not only the look of your home but for your safety as well. So next time you flip a light switch, take a moment to appreciate that underappreciated wall plate of yours!