What should be the light switch distance from the door?

Susan Fernandez January 01 2022

You have light switches in every room, and every light is turned on at the same time when you enter a room. This seems like an obvious choice, but there are two very important reasons to change this. The first reason is that you should never use light switches that are near the door or window without thinking it through, and the second is because of the way light switches work.

So, what are the reasons?

The switch that has been right next to your entrance/exit for years actually might be too close. When you enter the room, your body casts a shadow onto the switch turning off any lights in front of you.

For example, if you turn off all of the lights in your living room before entering it every time you come inside, then any people coming up behind you will have their view cast into darkness by your body's shadow over the light switch as they walk into the room. If you are in a situation where you can't change the location of your light switches, for example for renters, then there is an easy solution. Simply turn on all of the lights in your house when you leave to make it appear that someone is home.

The second reason to move the switch away from the entrance or exit is because of how they work. You might have seen this before if you've ever had a switch stop working right after it was installed.

The wires in the walls are connected with screws through little openings in the wall opposite each other so that one wire can connect with another by screwing it into place. These openings are barely big enough to fit a normal-sized screwdriver in them let alone large enough for two fingers. Here's a photo:

This makes it very difficult to switch the outlet, and if you do somehow manage to switch it without hurting yourself then you're bound to hurt yourself in this process. In order for a light switch to work properly, it needs much more space because there are two wires inside of the wall that needs room to connect with each other by screwing them together from opposite walls.

If these wires aren't connected correctly when they touch each other, then electricity will flow through both of them causing a short circuit which can be dangerous or even deadly in many cases. This is also where the phrase "shorts out" comes from when referring to someone getting hurt on something electric.

Before you change the location of your light switch, think about how many people might be walking behind you when you enter or exit a room.

If you're renting then this will be difficult to accomplish without changing the entire house around and it's very easy to hurt yourself while switching out electrical outlets, so use this tip: turn on all of the lights in your house every time you leave it so that it appears as though someone is home. This is not only great for security but also for energy conservation!

What can happen if the light switch is placed wrongly?

Countless injuries have been caused by improper light switch placement. For example, if a light switch is placed under low-hanging ceiling lights, it can cause those wearing high-heeled shoes to hit the light switch with their feet.

This causes the wires inside of the wall to come into contact with each other causing a short circuit. Short circuits can cause fires or even electrocution if a large enough current happens to flow through someone's body! Electricity follows the path of least resistance which means that it will take any route available for it - standing on a carpet and touching a doorknob could also cause you harm.

Also, when the light switch is too close to the entrance or exit it can be blocked by people constantly walking in and out of a room. If this happens, then when you go to turn off the lights when entering or leaving a room, there's a chance that they won't turn off and it will constantly sap electricity from your home (and bill).

How far should I keep my light switches?

Light switches in homes should ideally not be placed within arms reach of the door. It's important to note that this distance can vary depending on how tall someone is since we all know that tall people tend to have an advantage over shorter people.

Also, if you want even more energy savings than just turning on all of the lights every time you leave a room to make it look like someone is home, then you should install motion-sensing light switches. One of the most popular motion-detecting lights right now is the Lutron Maestro Wireless Sensing Light Dimmer.

With this device, there's no need to walk through your house anymore flipping every light switch on and off when you leave or enter a room because the sensors will do it for you...and they can even be programmed to turn lights on and off at specific times automatically!

Are there any standards?

Light switches, in general, should be placed at a distance not exceeding 1.5 m (5 feet) from the door opening to any exit, or from the point where a person first enters a room. The technique is called "minimum approach-lighting" and requires that no wall should intervene between a light switch and a person's path of travel. It will also ensure that there is enough light near an exit for everyone to see their way out in case of emergencies.

In addition, it will provide life safety protection for anyone who might have been abruptly awakened from sleep by an intruder entering their bedroom during the dark hours of the night. The risk of confrontation with the intruder will be reduced because more time would be available to wake up fully and prepare for flight or defense.

However, the consequences of improper placement are just the opposite, with intruders being able to operate in complete darkness because the occupants are forced to grope their way around an unfamiliar area when they enter or awaken. The intruder will have more time to prepare for surprise actions against the occupants before the latter can see and shoot or escape.

Light switches and electrical power outlets should be located along a path that is convenient and familiar enough for residents to use without groping their way through dark passageways while trying not to trip on obstacles. Higher light levels mean more illumination at floor level; lower light levels mean less illumination (measured in footcandles) needed at eye level.

For general lighting purposes, Table A5-1 of NFPA 70, National Electric Code (NEC), provides the following recommendations: For normal activities such as sitting, standing, and walking - 20-50 footcandles [FC] For reading and writing - 50-100 FC

Building occupants should be able to sense that they are approaching a transition zone or doorway when there is no longer an adequate level of light. This awareness will reduce the likelihood of abruptly encountering darkness. It might also encourage them to pay closer attention to their actions at this point.

How far away from the door should I place my light switches?

As a rule of thumb, all but one light switch in a given area should not be closer than three feet from any entrance or exit. For example, if a hallway light switch is located in the middle of a hallway, then each end of the hall should not have its own light switch directly near the door. This rule applies in most cases when you want to conserve energy and prevent electrocution or short circuits when getting out of bed!

A good way to remember this rule is by using your arm span - if someone were to put their arms straight out it would be about 18 inches from one hand to the other. This is usually close enough for almost all circumstances where electrical wiring needs repair or adjustment. If you find that your switches are too close then try moving them closer towards one another (but don't touch!) until they're far enough away.

The height should be about 40-48 inches so that everyone in the household can reach it without having to stretch and hurt themselves.

Where do I put my light switches?

Typically, we recommend that you keep your entrance light switch(es) near your front door or entryway and any lights in a room around the average height of the ceiling (about 8 feet above floor level). If this placement is too high for you then try moving them closer together until they're about shoulder length apart when standing at the center of the room with arms straight up towards them.

When placing your switches consider all of these factors:

  1. Where would it be safest to enter or exit a room?
  2. Where are there windows that could let out heat during the winter months?
  3. Where would you be most likely to walk or stand during the day or night?
  4. Is there a chance of water getting on the floor and is it possible to dry it up quickly if needed?
  5. How far is the light switch from where people will be turning them off/on? If it's too close, they may accidentally turn it off by bumping into something. If it's too far, people will have to reach for their light switches and find them in dark hallways. Sometimes you can't avoid this problem so just place another switch somewhere else closer to your main entrance door!    

Where should I NOT put my light switches?

You should not place your primary entrance light switches near any windows or glass doors. There are many reasons for this but one of them is because windows let in light and heat from the sun during the day which will eventually fade carpets, furniture, and rugs over time. This might not be a huge issue if you have hardwood floors throughout your home but it can still cause damage to any delicate materials that may already exist within your house.

Another reason to avoid placing switches near windows is that these areas are typically too hot during the summer months causing poor humidity control inside your house. This causes people's allergies to flare up since there are more airborne particles floating around their homes! Lastly, you should stay away from windows with exterior lighting at night - that way people aren't blinded when getting up or going to bed.

In the winter, windows will let in cold drafts from outside! It's a common cause of dry skin and chapped lips which can be very uncomfortable for anyone sensitive to the cold. Excessive exposure to drafty areas can also cause health problems like fever, sore throat, nausea, coughing, and chest pain if it goes on long enough! Nobody wants their family members to get sick just because you thought that repositioning your light switches would help with your energy bill. Don't risk it - keep them away from windows!

How to wire a light switch correctly?

When it comes to wiring light switches, most people leave this up to a professional electrician. There are a lot of different reasons for this but the main one is because they don't want to risk getting exposed to dangerous electrical currents such as short-circuiting. As previously stated in our article about voltage, exposed wires can be very hazardous and pose serious threats even when they aren't plugged into an electrical outlet!

Whenever possible, try using your circuits that are already established within your crossover box. This will reduce any additional wiring that you have to do yourself which can not only save money but time too! Sometimes, though, you might find that there aren't enough pre-existing circuits within your home so repositioning some of them can create new paths for others.

Typically, you'll only need the following wiring supplies to wire a light switch properly: light switch, electrical tape, wire nuts, and your screwdriver of choice. Some people prefer to use needle nose pliers instead-but any will do as long as they're comfortable in your hand!


A light switch is an important part of your electrical system within your home. It controls the flow of electricity into different areas so that you can easily turn lights on and off whenever needed!

To ensure everyone's safety, it's best to keep them away from windows and doors which cause excessive drafts during the winter months. This will help with humidity control as well as prevent people from opening their eyes at night after they've walked up to their bedroom door without knowing it since the switch was too far away