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Troubleshooting Home Lighting Fixturesfrom: Maxx Home Guides
Most of the time when a light in the home suddenly goes off, it is because the light bulb is blown and upon changing the bulb, the light works again. However, sometimes that isn't the case and before you call in an expensive electrician or simply stop using a particular light, there are some things you can easily check yourself.
Check the Bulb
If the light bulb has blown out and you change it and the light still doesn't work, first, check the light bulb in another light just to make sure it isn't a dud. If it does work in another light socket or lamp, then you'll need to look closer at the fixture you're working on. Take the same bulb you just discovered does work and try again, this time taking care to make sure the bulb is tightly screwed in the socket.
If it still doesn't work, unscrew it and try again, this time making sure you are screwing the bulb in straight. Now, this may seem funny but the ridges on some older light fixtures can become worn and it can actually be difficult to screw the light bulb in straight and not at an angle. While the bulb will actually fit in the socket this way, it isn't making contact and won't work.
If the bulb is screwed in tightly and straight and is still not working, check the tab, which is in the center of the socket. If the tab isn't making contact with the light bulb, the light won't come on. You may have to adjust it slightly in order for it to make contact with the bulb. You can most likely do this by gently pulling up on it but do not jerk it.
If, after doing all the above, your light is still not working, there are a few more things you can check but you'll need to turn off the power to the light to do this. Shut off the breaker that serves the light but don't touch anything until you test the connections with a voltage tester.
You want to make very sure that you have indeed cut the power to the right source. Once that is done, you'll want to begin testing connections to see that they're tight and use your voltage meter to test the wires inside the connections also. Test the switch connections and the receptacle connections.
By this time, you should have identified the problem but if all else fails, do check the connections at the breaker box as well. You want to be sure and replace or repair the exact fixture that's damaged and so you must test until you identify the source of the trouble. Then you will know exactly what to fix.
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