loosen screw on cover and light comes back on?

abbey_cnyOctober 22, 2013

Just wondering if this is a problem or if I am just being rather paranoid (which I tend to be when it comes to electricity). I have a flush ceiling fixture on my front porch which stopped working last night. I assumed it was the bulbs, as they have been in there for several years so I just went out to change them. I had to remove the bottom cover of the fixture in order to get to the bulbs, and as I was unscrewing the third screw the light came back on. It appears to be working fine now; I shut it on and off several times. But does this indicate a loose wire or something? Not much evidence to go on, I know, but it seems strange to me that just loosening a screw a couple of times would affect the fixture. Thanks for any suggestions.

Abbey

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jonw9

That would indicate to me that there was a loose screw or wire nut in the box. I would kill the power, pull the switch(es) out and make sure they are all tight.

Some of them may be the spring type connections. Personally I don't like those and move the wires back to the screws.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 12:34PM
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abbey_cny

thanks for the info. I know nothing about electricity so I will not be pulling any switches or wire nuts out. I will call an electrician. In the meantime until the electrician comes out should I just leave the light off or do I need to turn the breaker off?

Thanks.

Abbey

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 1:43PM
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randy427

It could also mean that the bulb was slightly loose and by jostling it when you were removing screws, a bad contact was made temporarily better. I'd tighten the bulb. Wire nuts don't generally back off by themselves but the bulb contacts could be getting corroded.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 2:43PM
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ionized_gw

HI Abby,

I don't see how this could have anything to do with switches. There is probably a loose connection right where the work was being done.

There are two lamps in the fixture? Both were off and both came back on? If it were one bulb I would strongly suspect it was just a loose connection in the socket. Even it it is two, it is still possible. Were the lamps touching the glass of the fixture when you were working with it? That would be a further indication. On the other hand, the jiggling could have done the same thing without the bulbs touching the glass. That is pretty simple to fix and you don't need to pay an electrician to check it out.

There can be power in the junction box of or behind the sockets even if the switch is off, but there should not be power to the sockets. If it were my light, I'd take the screws back off the cover and jiggle/tighten the bulbs a little to see what happens.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 7:55PM
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abbey_cny

Thanks for all of the suggestions. The original electrician did not secure the light properly to the ceiling, so when I went to take the bottom plate off to change the bulbs the light came off of the ceiling and was hanging by a wire (not an electric wire.) I got my brother in law out to fix it back to the ceiling and he thinks it was just the bulbs. They had been in there for at least a few years and looked in bad shape. Replaced them and all seems to be well.

Abbey

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 10:38PM
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jonw9

My apologies. I read cover as a switch cover plate, and thought you were investigating that route.

In that case, I agree with the above. Especially being an outdoor fixture there could be corrosion on the bulb base I would check as well.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 12:16PM
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kudzu9

I have often had the same thing happen. It was a broken filament in the bulb that fused back together when the bulb got jiggled and allowed the light to go back on. Usually, they fail again soon after. Putting in a new bulb solves the problem.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 5:00PM
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abbey_cny

yes, that may be it Kudzu9. I replaced the bulbs and so far so good. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 7:34PM
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abbey_cny

yes, that may be it Kudzu9. I replaced the bulbs and so far so good. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 7:35PM
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