How to Repair a Three-Way Switch on a Lamp

When a lamp is not working, the problem usually can be traced directly to the switch or the cord.
Instead of replacing the entire lamp because of a bad three-way switch, a new switch can be installed fairly easily and inexpensively. With a little time and a few dollars in parts, the broken lamp can once again be providing three levels of light.

Step 1

Understand how the socket assembly is constructed. On most lamps, a threaded rod runs from the base up to the socket. The socket has a cardboard insulation sleeve surrounded by a metal housing. The cord runs through the metal rod to the socket, and two screws connect it to the socket.

Step 2

Unplug the lamp and remove the shade and bulb.

Step 3

Remove the set screw at the base of the socket and pry the metal housing loose from the rest of the socket.

Step 4

Remove the cardboard sleeve around the socket to expose the wires.

Step 5

Unscrew the connections from the socket. One should be darker and normally is copper-colored, while the lighter one usually is silver-colored. The socket should now unscrew from the threaded rod.

Step 6

Install the new socket assembly by screwing it onto the threaded rod and connecting the wires to the correct screws. Connect the dark wire to the dark screw and the light wire to the light screw.

Step 7

Replace the lamp shade and bulb.

Things You Will Need

  • Three-way switch assembly
  • Screwdriver

About the Author

Damon Koch has years of writing experience ranging from software manuals to song lyrics. His writing has appeared in software manuals for Human Arc and on the CDs "Small Craft Advisory" and "Impersonating Jesus." He also has worked in building maintenance since 2004. He has attended Lorain County Community College as well as Cleveland State University.