How to Test a Light Socket How to Test a Light Socket

What You'll Need
Step ladder
Continuity tester
Rubber gloves

A light socket is a fixture that holds light bulbs and connects them to power cables in the walls. If a light bulb stops glowing and installing a replacement does not solve the problem, only then should you test the light socket, since it allows passage of electricity to the bulb. The article below will guide you through this process.

Step 1 – Take Appropriate Precautions

Testing light sockets involves contact with high voltage electric wiring. Make sure that the main breaker in the breaker box is switched off before working on the light socket in any way. For safety purposes, deploy the stepladder on a stable surface while working on the ceiling light fixtures. In addition to these precautions, the use of gloves is also recommended to prevent electrocution.

Step 2 – Removing the Light Socket

Since the problem either lies in the light socket or in the power cables, diagnosing the problem requires access to the connections hidden at the back of the fixture. Use an appropriate screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the fixture to the wall. Once this is done, carefully pry the fixture loose and let it hang via the power cables that are connected to it.

Step 3 – Using a Continuity Tester

Continuity testers are electronic devices with two electrodes attached to a digital meter. These devices work as galvanometers that detect and measure electronic current. In order to properly use them, the electrodes, usually of a black and red color, are to be touched with a conductor and not the insulation that covers the wires. The electrodes are to be touched with wires of the correct polarity. For more information about connections, refer to the user manual that came with the device.

Step 4 – To Test Flaws in the Power Cables

To rule out issues with the power cables, connect the continuity connector to the electrical terminals as explained. To check for this problem you will have to touch the electrodes with the live wire and the neutral wire. This can be done in multiple ways, but the easiest method is to simply connect the electrodes with the brass and silver colored bolts on the back of the light socket. If the meter picks up current and displays a numeric value, the power cables are working fine. If this does not happen then the fault lies in the power cables.

Step 5 – To Test for a Flaw in the Light Socket

For this step, remove the light fixture by disconnecting it from the power cables. Once this is done, touch one electrode with the brass terminal at the bottom of the socket to the other one with the threaded part of the socket. If the digital meter shows a reading then the socket is not faulty. However, if there is no change in the meter display socket should be replaced with one of a good quality. This will ensure a longer socket life and will save you the trouble of making frequent replacements.

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