Light goes out intermitently

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Old 08-03-15, 02:58 PM
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Light goes out intermitently

Hi guys,

I'm a recently new home owner, having just bought a 2 family townhouse in New York. I've been enjoying learning more about taking care of stuff, and have my first electric issue.

The unit that the tenants live in have a light receptacle that intermittently just turns itself on and off. There does not seem to be any triggering factor that we can see, and it basically seems to happen at random. Aside from changing a new bulb, we haven't done much trouble shooting. I do have some minor electric experience (changing fixtures mostly), and my first inclination would be to look at the connections at the switch and the receptacle (the light is on the same switch as several other lights, all of which work fine, so it seems the receptacle would be more likely to be the issue).

However, since this is in my tenants space, I thought it would be worthwhile going getting a bit more advice/knowledge before going into their space (to keep the number of trips to a minimum). If anyone has some feedback in terms of what I could be looking for as an issue causing this, I would truly appreciate it.

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-03-15, 03:14 PM
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my first inclination would be to look at the connections at the switch and the receptacle (the light is on the same switch as several other lights, all of which work
If it was one light that would be the first place to look and still is but the first light may feed the next and so fourth so after the switch you need to start redoing the connections at each light.
light receptacle
What is a light receptacle?

Do you have conduit?
 
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Old 08-03-15, 03:32 PM
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Thanks for the input.

What is a light receptacle?
Sorry, for the vocabulary error... when I said receptacle I was just referring to the connection where the bulb screws in.

Do you have conduit?
These are recessed bulbs, and all the wiring is behind drywall, so I believe the answer to that question is no.
 
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Old 08-03-15, 03:39 PM
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These are recessed bulbs, and all the wiring is behind drywall, so I believe the answer to that question is no.
But you are in NYC so it probably is conduit. That can affect wire colors and how easy the repair will be.
 
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Old 08-03-15, 04:49 PM
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If these are I/C recessed light's there made to shut off if someone installs to high a wattage bulb in them, to prevent a fire.
There should be a sticker right on the deffuser stating what wattage bulb to use.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 07:41 AM
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I think your first inclination is the most likely to be the case. Bad socket.
Sometimes the connections get dirty. Sometimes the hardware is just cheap.

I have a light in my garage that goes off every once in a while, I haven't gotten around to changing it but if it goes out when I need more light in that particular area I just go tap the lightbulb with my hand and it turns on.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 08:16 AM
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Sometimes the hardware is just cheap
Check the center contact in socket, the hot tab. Turn off power and pull upwards on center tab with needle nose or pry it up with a tiny screwdriver.
I have to do this every now and then on the garage door opener.
Unreal how cheap some sockets are made, some don't even have full contact at the screw shell, just a tab.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 09:54 AM
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This is extremely helpful guys. Thanks so much.

@joecaption I'm actually remembering a rental apartment I lived in with very similar recessed sockets that also had an issue similar to the one I'm describing here. The solution was a lower wattage bulb, so I'm guessing you might be on to something. This will be the first thing that we look at.

The additional thoughts everyone provided are also super useful. This gives me lots to go on for when I go to work on this.

I'll report back after I've had a chance to check in on this.

Thanks everyone!
 
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Old 08-04-15, 11:12 AM
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@joecaption I'm actually remembering a rental apartment I lived in with very similar recessed sockets that also had an issue similar to the one I'm describing here. The solution was a lower wattage bulb, so I'm guessing you might be on to something. This will be the first thing that we look at.
I'd have to agree that this is the most likely problem you have. There is a thermal protector to guard against overlamping. The protector is a mechanical device and eventually will fail if the high heat condition continues. The issue is, does the thermal protector fail in the open or closed mode? If it fails in the closed position, you will have a serious possibility of a fire.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 04:05 PM
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@casualjoe and @joecaption, it's looking like you nailed it.

We put a CFL bulb in and it looked to be working just fine when I left. I told the tenant to contact me in case things change, but I suspect we're all set. Great to understand a bit more about how those sockets work, and so glad to see what a simple solution it was on this one.

Thanks so much guys!
 
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