Porch Light Not Working? Here's How to Troubleshoot

motion detector porch light on wall under wood ceiling

A porch is a great option for a home entrance. It gives people coming to your home a place to stand as they wait for you to open the door. It is also a place where you and your family can enjoy coffee in the morning or a glass of wine after a long day. Porch swings are also popular and kids may enjoy sitting there for hours over the summer.

Plus, porches give your home great curb appeal. But a porch without a working porch light isn't as useful. It is harder to see who is out there and increases the risk of someone stumbling in the dark—both of which are huge safety concerns. If your porch light isn't working, here is some troubleshooting advice to help you fix the issue.

Tighten It

Make sure the light is turned off. A porch light that isn't working could simply be the result of a loose bulb. Make sure it is screwed in tight and that no pieces have been jostled out of place by a big wind or rambunctious kids playing in the area.

Change the Light Bulb

A porch light that isn't working could simply be the result of an old lightbulb. Replace it with a new one. If you are unsure what kind of lightbulb to get, bring the current one with you to a home improvement store and ask for help finding a replacement bulb. There may be multiple lightbulbs that would work, all with varying degrees of brightness. Before you screw in the new lightbulb, make sure the light switch is turned off or the timer if it comes on automatically.

worker changing outdoor lightbulb on ladder

Cut the Power

For any major troubleshooting to the light, you will need to cut the power supply to the area. This will prevent you from being electrocuted, which no one wants.

Get a Step Stool or Ladder

Many porch lights are too high for the average person to reach. If this is the case, you may need to grab a step stool or ladder. Do not use a chair for this as a chair, while it will give you the extra height needed, is not sturdy enough. If possible, have someone stand on the porch with you for added safety.

Remove the Fixture

In order to really understand what is causing your fixture to not work, you may have to remove it. Use the step stool or ladder to reach it if need be. Use a screwdriver to remove all screws from the device. Put them in a Ziplock bag so you do not misplace them. If there is more than one type of screw, label them and place them in separate bags. Make sure you are holding onto the device as you are removing the screws so it does not break.

Once it is removed, you can see if there is something you can do to fix the fixture. You should clear it out to make sure there isn't any dust or particles blocking the light from working. Also check for loose wires. Once you're done, put the light back in the area and see if it works.

front entrance door with lighting fixtures

New Fixture

If you decide to buy a new fixture, make sure to align it with the existing screw holes and screw it back in. It is unlikely that it will need new holes drilled in. Once the fixture is secure, turn on the power to the area and test your new light fixture.

Call a Professional

If after all that your porch light still isn't working, it is likely a wiring issue. While an experienced DIYer may feel equipped to handle this, in most instances, you will need to call an electrician to check the wiring in the area instead. Do not work with wires unless you know what you are doing.