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Fixing Common Light Fixture Problems

Fixing Common Light Fixture Problems

Light Fixture

If you have a light fixture that’s failed or not working correctly, and you have tried replacing the light bulb or adjusting the light bulb socket, there a few other things you can check to try to solve the problem.

1. Loose Switch Wiring

One of the most common problems with light fixtures is a loose wire connection at the switch. Constant switching on and off can loosen the connection. Turn the power off at the breaker panel, remove the switch cover, then tighten any loose wires. If you’re concerned about the connections, have Hickey Plumbing, Air and Electrical inspect the wiring.

If the light switch is working fine and the lights still flicker, have Hickey Plumbing, Air and Electrical check the electrical wiring for problems.

2. Bad Switch Contacts

If the bulb flickers on and off, it could be caused by switch contacts that are worn out. If you can hear a sizzling or crackling sound when the switch is flipped, the contacts are bad. The switch should be replaced.

3. Recessed Lighting Randomly Going On and Off

Are your recessed lighting fixtures randomly going on and off? The most most common cause is overheating. Recessed lights are equipped with a safety limit switch to prevent overheating by turning the fixture off automatically when heat reaches an unsafe level.

Check that the bulb in the fixture has the correct wattage and install a lower wattage bulb if needed. Also look for insulation that may be packed too tightly around the fixture, trapping heat. If the problem persists after trying the above steps, call Hickey Plumbing, Air and Electrical to inspect the lights. They may have a faulty limit switch or other problem.

4. Faulty Light Socket Tab

If you look inside a light socket you will see a brass tab that presses up against the base of the light bulb when the bulb is screwed in. Screwing bulbs in too tightly can cause the tab to become bent down too far, preventing a solid contact with the base of the light bulb. This can cause electricity to arc, damaging the contact point on the light bulb, causing it to fail prematurely.

To fix the problem shut the power off to the fixture at the breaker panel, or if it’s a plug-in fixture, unplug it from the wall. Next, gently bend the socket tab upwards slightly with a needle-nose pliers so it is not flat against the bottom of the socket. About a quarter of an inch will work.

5. Incompatible Dimmer Switches

If you have upgraded your light fixtures from older incandescent bulbs to LEDs it’s important to use dimmer switches that are compatible with LEDs. Older dimmer switches were designed for use with standard incandescent bulbs only, and if you use CFL or LED bulbs it can damage the circuitry of the bulb, causing it to wear out prematurely.