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Home Lighting Troubleshooting Tips

This web page provides a series of tips (short statements) on how to ‘troubleshoot’ home lighting problems.

 

The subjects covered are general problem solving tips, downlights, flickering lights, fluorescent lights and the same bulb keeps blowing.

 

General Problem Solving Tips

  • Always change the bulb.
  • Get as much information about the problem as possible. Has only one light stopped working? Has anything else, for instance an electrical socket, stopped working?
  • Always check the RCDs
  • Light switches and dimmers can cause light problems – don’t forget to check switches and dimmers.
  • Lights generate a lot of heat – if the lights are ‘recessed’ ensure there is enough space for the heat to dissipate.

Downlight Problems

  • Downlights may flicker, or not work at all, if you fit low wattage bulbs, for instance 20W instead of 50W.
  • Downlights usually have transformers to reduce the supply voltage, if changing the bulb does not fix the light try changing the transformer.
  • Downlight transformers generate heat; heat has to be dissipated. Ensure there is enough space around the transformer to dissipate the heat.
  • Is something covering the bulb housing, for instance loft insulation? Overheating causes many different problems.
  • Dimmers cause many downlight problems, use the correct dimmer for the downlights.

Flickering Lights

  • Always change the bulb first.
  • Some flickering of lights is normal particularly when turning other appliances on.
  • Possible cause – loose connection at a light switch or within the bulb holder.
  • Possible cause – corroded or oxidised contacts. Contacts should look clean, over time contacts can corrode or oxidise and become black in colour.
    • Turn the supply to the light off, scrape the bulb and bulb holder contacts with a screwdriver to clean them.
  • Can you hear any ‘buzzing’ from a light switch or any electrical circuit?
    • Flickering lights are often a symptom of problems elsewhere; a buzzing noise from an electrical switch or circuit is a sign of a problem.
  • Are there any abnormal smells coming from an electrical appliance or circuit? The cause of the smell could be the wiring overheating. Call a qualified electrician.

Fluorescent Lights

  • Some fluorescent tubes need ‘starters’ to work, change the starter if changing the tube does not fix the problem.
  • Do you have the correct starter? Different length fluorescent tubes require different types of starter.
  • Fluorescent tube black or discoloured near the ends – a good sign that the tube has failed or is close to failing.

Same Bulb Keeps Blowing

  • Most likely cause is low quality bulbs – try a higher quality bulb or a long-life bulb.
  • Have you fitted a higher wattage bulb than you should? The bulb could be over-heating and blowing, try a lower wattage bulb.
  • Is the light switch ‘buzzing’ or discoloured?
    • A buzzing light switch or discolouring is a sign of a faulty switch. The switch may be causing the bulb to blow.
  • Loose wiring in the bulb holder or light switch?
  • Corroded or oxidised contacts?
    • Contacts should look clean, over time contacts can corrode or oxidise and become black in colour.
    • Turn the supply to the light off, scrape the bulb and bulb holder contacts with a screwdriver to clean them.

 

Judge Electrical Limited
15 Mulberry Court, Huntington, York, YO32 9TU
Telephone 01904 764845 (Landline), 07919 033113 Mobile)
Email info@judgeelectrical.co.uk
VAT No. 852917405. Company Number 6359328