We don’t fully appreciate all of our modern conveniences. Take the fact that you can light up a room with the flick of a switch or the turn of the knob on a reading lamp. It’s only when that flick of the switch, or twist of the knob, fails to produce any light that you realize how fortunate you are to have electricity. Sometimes it’s not a power outage that’s causing the light to fail. It could be a larger problem within your home that will require a little detective work to discover how to fix the problem.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some troubleshooting tips to try when your lights won’t turn on:
Start With the Simple Stuff
Sometimes it’s the most obvious things that cause all the trouble. Start by examining the light bulb. Maybe it’s burned out, so you just need to grab a replacement. If it’s a lamp, make sure it’s plugged into an outlet! While an occasional flickering light normally indicates an issue with the bulb, constant flickering throughout your home could likely mean that there’s an overload on the electrical system. This is an issue that will definitely require the attention of a professional. If you experience consistent flickering call the professional electricians at Fusion Electric at 913-648-9487, or contact us online for quick service and professional results!
Grab a Flashlight and Head to the Power Panel
It could be a “tripped” circuit breaker. Sometimes a power surge can cause a circuit breaker to trip (cut off power) to a particular area of your home and simply flipping it back on can often solve the problem. The circuit breaker is the electrical system’s defense against voltage spikes and sudden fluctuations. While the occasional “tripped” breaker is nothing to be alarmed about, a consistent issue may indicate a serious problem with the breaker panel or somewhere else within the electrical system.
Test the Outlet
Get yourself an OHM-meter (a circuit tester) at the hardware store to stock in your toolbox for this and similar situations in the future. Test the outlet you’ve plugged your lamp into, to make sure it’s got power. If there’s no power, it’s possible you’ve got wiring troubles in the electrical wiring connected to that outlet. Time to call a licensed electrician! Electrical projects involving wiring are not a DIY project.
Check the Socket
Inside the socket of a lamp, or a ceiling fixture, there’s a copper or brass tab. If the tab gets bent or “mashed down”, the business end of the light bulb can’t make contact, and won’t light, even though there’s power flowing into the socket. Turn off the breaker that controls that light fixture, reach in with something made of wood or plastic, and bend the tab back up to a 15-20 degree angle. This problem is more common than you think.
Call a Pro
After you’ve tried “all of the above” and nothing works, it’s time to pick up the phone and call a professional — a licensed electrician. Electricity is too dangerous to mess with and you definitely don’t want to risk a serious shock or worse for the sake of an unlit lamp or ceiling fixture!