Metal And Plastic Switch Covers-The Main Differences

The switch is the most common electrical utility item found in all houses. Used to light bulbs and tubes, switch on fans and other electrical gadgets, no house can operate any electrical appliance without it. But it is also one of the most dangerous items especially if there are inquisitive kids around and socket cover plates are not installed to form a barrier between the hand and the electrical wiring.

Need for a switch cover

A switch is an object which is permanently connected to a live electrical circuit. Commonly wall-mounted, these switches are recessed inside a completed or finished wall. The recess contains the wires which connect the switch to the main electrical wiring of the house and any accidental contact can be harmful and even fatal at times. Installation of an electrical switch cover helps prevent this from happening.

The fact that it adds aesthetic value, also contributes to the need and demand for switch covers. In fact with an advancement of technology, there has also been a subtle shift in the way switch covers are perceived. No longer seen as items of electrical utility, these switch covers are being increasingly used to add decorative value to the homes where they are installed by the use of decorative switch plate covers.

Make of switch covers

Switch covers or switch plates are generally made of metals or plastic. While both have their advantages and disadvantages, the ultimate choice of their installation depends primarily on their:

  • Functionality in terms of safety and
  • The preference of the user in terms of aesthetic value and pocket pinch.

However metals switch plates have an advantage over plastic ones in terms of value because:

  • They guarantee the same look even if purchased separately since minor differences are generally not noticeable,
  • Decorative switch plates enhance the looks of the room thereby adding aesthetic value,
  • They come in all shapes, sizes and colours and are reasonably priced,
  • In terms of safety and reliability, they are guaranteed.

Comparing a metal and plastic switch cover

A comparison of the metal and plastic switch covers shows that in looks they do not have much of a difference. In fact matching and mixing the two makes for a break in the monotony of installing the same looking metal switch of plastic wall switch plates. But there are other differences like:

  • Safety: Screwing a plastic switch cover plate can at times cause it to break thereby exposing the wiring inside thereby making them unsafe for use.
  • Durability: It has been generally seen that metal switch covers do not undergo much wear and tear with time. On the other hand people who buy light switch covers and install them notice a discolouration when used over a period of time. There is also a tendency of plastic switch covers to warp and subsequently pinch the electrical wiring inside thereby preventing it from working properly.
  • Maintenance: The plastic switch plates are generally high maintenance since they tend to get easily scratched, absorb grime and look dirty, have a glossy finish which tends to look cheap at times etc. Thus in order to maintain their freshness, one needs to regularly spend time cleaning them which is not the case for metal switch covers.
  • Strength: Metal switch plates do not need a support like plastic switch covers do, to strengthen them thus making plastic switch covers relatively more cumbersome.

Hence when one goes to buy switch online or otherwise, it is always advisable to keep the following points in mind and act accordingly.

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