Argo Electrical Services
Argo Electrical Services
  • Hometalker
  • Gainesville, GA

Why aren't My lights working??

A few days ago a good friend called. He explained to me that the flood light in the front of his house wasn't working. He told me he had changed the bulb. We scheduled a time for the service call. Upon arrival I removed the switch plate. I tested the circuit for voltage. My voltage meter showed 122.5 volts. I returned to my truck. After retrieving a single-pole almond switch, I removed the existing switch. After installing the new switch, I recognized that the light still didn't work. I retrieved a ladder from the truck. I found a lamp in the den and removed a working bulb. After installing the working bulb, the fixture produced light. Sometimes customers call saying they need a breaker. I have to ask, "How do you know?" Through further discussion we both realize the situation will require more investigation. One customers 3 way switch problem stemmed from a completely different light. The daisy chain fashion of wiring had eliminated the power source. We took out several other devices before he revealed another light that had quit working. The neutral was no longer connected to the circuit. I wrote down this check list to help the novice troubleshooter.3 Reasons My Lights Aren't Working:My light bulb is burned out.The switch is no longer working.There is no voltage present at the light.I have been troubleshooting residential lighting circuit's for years. There is no fool-proof method for the process. You can eliminate some headaches by following these steps. Test your replacement bulb before installation. I have placed another bad bulb into a fixture. This causes confusion. You can next remove the switch plate. Test for voltage at the switch. The voltage can be transferred through a solid insulated wire. If voltage is present, remove the insulation form both ends of your jumper wire. You can touch both ends to the screws simultaneously. If the switch is defective, the light should produce rays of light. After replacing the switch, the light will work. If all of this fails, you must remove the light fixture. Once the fixture is removed, test for voltage. You will need to turn the switch on. This will complete the circuit. I have had very few examples that this method didn't solve. It is easy to get confused if there is no real plan of action. Troubleshooting isn't impossible. It can be challenging. is a production of Argo Electrical Services
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2 of 10 comments
  • KMS Woodworks
    on Jan 30, 2013

    I like to give the wire in the nut a really good twist with some pliers then trim the tip before I put on the wire nut. I some crowded boxes on some wire sets that that are bigger I sometimes will install a "seat belt" ...this is just a short 2-3 inch long length of electrical tape that further secures the wire nut.

  • 3po3
    on Jan 30, 2013

    Great tip. Thank you.

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