Troubleshooting Recessed Light Fixtures

A room with recessed light fixtures.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20
What You'll Need
Light bulb
Light socket

Recessed light fixtures are popular and very much in style and will continue to be for years to come. Recessed light fixtures can be installed as the main lighting of a room, under cabinets or as lighting for small areas like closets. These fixtures can have several problems over time. The following article will show you how to spot these problems as well as how to repair them without much trouble.

Sagging Trim Around Recessed Light Fixtures

Recessed light fixtures can make any drab room chic as soon as they are installed. This beauty can quickly deteriorate when the trim around the recessed light begins to come loose. This problem can cause the fixture to be exposed allowing drafts into the home. This problem is easily spotted as the trim will no longer be flush with the fixture and may appear wavy before actually starting to come away. The springs that hold the trim in place are most likely stretched to the limit.

Turn off the light and allow the bulb to cool then remove it. Now, release the springs with a pair of pliers or a screwdriver. Only remove the springs closest to the sagging area. Once the springs are unhooked from the trim you can remove the trim completely and replace the springs. Return the trim in place hooking them into their designated areas. The trim should not sit flush with the ceiling and the recessed light fixture.

Damaged Bulb

If a bulb inside recessed light fixtures does not turn on, then there is typically a problem with either the bulb or the socket. Make sure the light is turned off and carefully touch the bulb to make sure it is cool. Remove the bulb from the fixture and inspect it closely. You can look for black or gray spots inside the bulb and shake the bulb listening for rattling inside the glass indicating a bad bulb. If any case, inserting a new bulb in the socket will remove all doubts.

Blown Socket

A faulty socket does not happen often. There are a few ways to determine if the socket on recessed light fixtures is damaged. The first is if the light does not turn on but the bulb is not blown out. The second is you can hear a slight buzzing sound coming from the fixture and the third is if you have to replace bulbs frequently as they continuously blow out over a very short period of time.

Repair is fairly straight forward. Turn off the light and the power and make sure the bulb is cool. Remove the trim from around the recessed light fixture. Remove the wing nut or screw that is holding the socket in place and pull it out. Use tape and a marker to identify the wiring, or better yet, connect the two black wires together and the two white wires together when replacing with a new socket, and secure in place with the screw or nut. Put the trim in place and turn the power on.