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Solving 5 Common Light Fixture Problems

Light Fixture Problems

If you have a light fixture that's failed or is not working correctly, and you have tried replacing the bulb and adjusting the light bulb socket, there a few more things you can check. Here are some of the most common causes of lighting fixture problems.

1. Loose Switch Wiring
One of the most common problems with lights is a loose wire connection at the switch. Constant switching on and off can loosen the connection. Turn the power of at the breaker panel, remove the switch cover, then tighten any loose wires. If you're concerned about the connections, have Clover Electric inspect the wiring.

2. Bad Switch Contacts
If the bulb flickers on and off, it could be caused by switch contacts are worn out. Sometimes you'll hear a sizzling or crackling sound when the switch contacts are bad. Replacing the switch will correct the problem.

3. Recessed Lighting That Randomly Turns On and Off
Are your recessed lighting fixtures randomly going on and off? The cause could be overheating. Recessed lights are equipped with a limit switch to prevent overheating by turing 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 for insulation that's packed too tightly around the fixture, which will trap heat. If the problem persists after trying the above steps, call Clover Electric 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, un-plug 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 incandescent to LED bulbs it's important to use dimmer switches that are compatible with LED bulbs. 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 burn out prematurely. Clover Electric can install LED-safe dimmer switches to prevent future problems.
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