Pesky roomate light problem

ktaroo939January 26, 2009

Hey, My name is Catherine and I have a lighting problem. I live in an apartment complex and have 3 roommates. Because I am a college student I am frequently in and out of the apartment at all hours, including when its dark. because of this, I have asked my roommates to leave our outside light on, However, one of my roommates stubbornly refuses and enjoys turning the light off when I am gone. Now, though I would love to just get rid of the roommate, I cannot, which is what leads me to my question,

Is there a way to make it so a light cannot be turned off by the switch? So that no matter if the switch is up or down the light stays on?

Now, I guess I should include the fact that I have never done any type of electrical work or wiring. However, I'm not dumb or electrically incompetent (at least not as far as i know anyway hehe) so as long as the job isnt too complex I'm certain I can manage alright.

Can anyone please help a poor college girl out?

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It's illegal to modify the electrical work in a building you don't own if you aren't an electrician.

Could you just put tape over the switch, or is the roomate maliciously turning it off and not just accidentally turning it off?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 2:41PM
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I tried taping it, with clear tape, black tape, and duct tape, he left me a note daring me to try to find a tape he couldn't cut =(

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 2:44PM
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Try talking to the complex's maintenace worker, there are several ways to do what you want and a few of them may only take minutes to complete.

Besides that your next best bet would be to talk to the apartment manager, as far as I see it this is a safety issue and maybe if you present it that way they will help you out. There needs to be some sort of exterior lighting installed at the complex. When the light you are talking about is off is the area completely dark?

Obviously though, the best thing to do is get a new roomate who wont be a jack!@# when someone asks them to leave a light on at night for safety.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 3:09PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Might a motion activated light be a solution to the problem? Of course it too, would have to be left in the 'on' position. Might the room mate agree to something like that if maintenance would install one?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 3:14PM
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> of my roommates stubbornly refuses and enjoys turning the light off when I am gone.

>...he left me a note daring me to try to find a tape he couldn't cut =(

Is your roomate some kind of control freak that enjoys exerting his power over you? Has he done anything to harm you or make you feel threatened by him? If so, there may be a legal way out of your lease. Regardless, how many red flags do you need? It sounds like you're living with a psycho, and you should strongly consider moving. Now.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 3:50PM
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Step 1. Locate a cooperative friend (unknown to your roommate)that enjoys a considerable physical advantage over your "pesky" roommate. A modest criminal history would not be a disqualifier here.

Step 2. Offer said friend an incentive to visit and appropriately counsel your roommate while you are away from the apartment and the outside light is off.

Step 3. Return home and note if the light is on or off.

Step 4. If the light remains off, repeat Steps 1-3 as needed.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 3:51PM
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Easiest solution might be to carry a flashlight. I doubt the complex will do anything since the easiest/most realistic solution from their point of view would be to just leave the light on. But obviously you can't do that.

Out of curiousity, does your roomate have any reason that he doesn't want the light on (ie. it's outside his room and shines in, he doesn't want to pay the electricity for the light, etc) or does he just want to spite you?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 3:51PM
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You can buy a little plastic gadget that will lock the light switch on. Google for "light switch lock" to see what it looks like. It just screws on using one of the switch plate screws. Of course, your roommate could easily remove it, so you may need to try to find a tamper-resistant screw that can only be turned with a special security screwdriver.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 4:09PM
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Wow, that was amazingly helpful guys thanks =D. To answer some of the questions:
whether or not he is a psycho may be debatable, but it is mostly that he is an EXTREMELY childish control freak. He can be cool at times but over some issues he just completely weirds out. Why he cares so much about this light I can't begin to guess, except to say that I think he wants it off because I want it on, and he always has to get his way. No it isn't outside his room, its actually outside mine, and as for the electricity, well for starters its 1 energy efficient lightbulb, he constantly runs his laptop, his big tv, and his Xbox 360, so I dont think its that.

Some of your suggestions were really great, I never even considered asking the maintenance guys if they could fix it so the light stays on, they seem pretty cool so I'll definitely ask them if they can do anything before I try anything else. Also a motion detector light isn't a bad idea but i doubt that they would install it. If all else fails I will try electricman steps which are really great and detailed! and if it comes to that I will make sure to get the necessary equipment and any and all related safety gear Lowes can offer. THANKYOU GUYS SO MUCH!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 6:48PM
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Then he'll just unscrew the bulb.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 7:11PM
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lol.. cant win.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 8:09PM
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So, Why don't you play hard ball ? The next time the light is off when you come home tell him his laptop, T.V. and or Xbox might have an accident. Don't even think about playing the light switch rewire game. Don't know where you
live but up here you can be charged with trespassing and
unautherized modifications without a licence or permit. One thing you can do is fill the switch handel with krazy glue. Pour it in in the off possition and flip it up and pour it in in the on possition and leave it there. It will harden. When he goes to turn it off it will not move. He will then hit it so hard he will break the handle off and it will stay in the on possition. You can then blame him for busting the switch when you call the maintanance man. One thing i must ask is how cool is a control freak that jeperdizes your safety ? Then again, how cool is a control
freak ? I'm thinking there might be more than one person that has a problem here? I'm seeing a red flag. Just one person's opinion. Please disregaurd this post if offensive. Just don't shoot the messanger.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 8:34PM
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So you haven't even asked him why he keeps turning the light off?
Have you explained to him why you want it on?
Seems like a little communication could solve this problem.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2009 at 8:47AM
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just take a short 3-4 inch piece of 12 gauge wire pull the switch out and bridge the screws on the switch then light stays on no matter what position the switch is in

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 6:00PM
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Just a couple of random thoughts:

- Have you father talk with him. I know it sounds a little immature but if this was happening to my daughter, the young man would have some explaining to do. Whatever his issues are with control, immaturity, or even mental defect they don't supersede your right to safety.

- When you get home late and the light is not on, pound/kick loudly on the door until someone answers. When asked, explain that you couldn't see to put your key in the lock because the light was off.

- You could simply ask him why he insists on turning off the light. Maybe better would be to use an "I" statement. For example, "I feel unsafe when the porch light is off. Would you leave it on?"

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 9:09PM
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There is a motion-detector socket that you can screw into the fixture, then screw the bulb into it. It needs to be exposed to the light, so it won't work in every fixture. But it's not that expensive.

And if it turns the light off, maybe your roommate won't notice that it's on, and he'll leave the switch alone.

Though, I don't know how far away it would sense you, and whether it would give you the lighting you need to get safely to the door.

There are other light fixtures that might provide more coverage, or sense farther out, but they're more expensive.

Well, no, they're not--check out this one (a little harsh, but . . .):

I'd take the problem first to the maintenance guys. You saw how all of us reacted here--I bet they'd be on your side, and be willing to replace the switch so that it's permanently on, or something.

Then there's this locking cover plate--it opens with a key, and I would think that means it's designed so that you can't just unscrew it.

Here is a link that might be useful: light-detector screw-in socket

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 9:27PM
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This thread is OVER a year old. Why, now, does it suddenly deserve three new answers?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 6:39PM
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Perhaps because we are wondering if Catherine used possibly the most effective method.

Step 1 - locate a very muscular, somewhat rowdy male friend. Let's call him "William".

Step 2 - illustrate the "pesky roommate" problem to William and describe in graphic detail how fixing this situation would pay off.

Step 3 - go see "pesky roomate" in hospital, and say you will leave the light on for him. Tell him how glad you are that William appears to be an expert at fixing lights.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 7:09PM
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Make a big batch of exlax brownies when he isn't home and leave them for him.... oh and take the light bulbs out of the bathroom and put the toilet paper out of reach from the toilet.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 9:19PM
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