Lighting Problems

Problem With Lighting That Is Not WorkingAre you experiencing a problem with your lights? Dolce Electric Co has scheduled electricians Mesa AZ homeowners and businesses can consult with free of charge from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM today, Friday, August 23rd, 2019. Our in-office electrician in Mesa AZ has over 30 years of professional experience with lighting problems but more importantly lighting repairs and solutions. Give him a call today during regular business hours and get the answers you’re looking for to resolve your lighting problem.

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Lights go dim at random

If your lights go dim at random this is a sign that you are not getting full power to your light fixtures all the time. Unlike flickering lights in a garage which are usually fluorescent lights that often require a simple ballast replacement, lighting that dims at random can suggest that more serious problems exist. The duration of the dimming is an important factor as well as the timing of the dimming. If your lighting briefly goes dim when a large appliance like an air conditioning unit is turned on, this is typically normal but it can suggest a problem with your main circuit breaker. Large appliances will often draw excessive power on start up briefly drawing available power away from your lighting. If the duration lasts for more than 5 seconds or the dimming occurs when no appliances turn on you should have it investigated by a qualified electrician, there may other problems.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Switch Failing:
    This would be something to look at only if all the lights controlled by a switch are dimming together at random. Sometimes a sizzling or crackling sound can be heard at the switch when all the controlled lights suddenly dim.
  • Loose Connection:
    Lights that suddenly dim may have a loose connection somewhere in the circuit. If some of the lights controlled by a single switch dim suddenly and others don’t you will probably find a loose connection in the wiring behind one of the light fixtures being controlled by that switch. If lights suddenly dim in multiple areas a loose connection may be found in the power wires that supply electricity to the switches and lights. In both cases the splices of the hot wires and neutral wires should be checked for a tight splice.
  • Failing Circuit Breaker:
    This will usually not be the cause when a single room has lights that dim suddenly. A circuit breaker will typically supply electricity to multiple switches in a home or office. Much like a loose connection, check the circuit breakers for situations where lights suddenly dim in multiple areas. Also make sure that all the connections to the neutral bar inside the panel are securely tightened.
  • Incoming Power:
    If you are experiencing lighting that dim suddenly throughout about half of your home or building you may have a problem with the main power at the circuit breaker box. Problems can include a power quality issue from the utility company, a failing electric meter or a failing main circuit breaker. Homes and buildings that get there main power from wires suspended in the air may notice sudden dimming of lights only on windy days. This can happen when the splices connecting the power company’s aerial wires to your main power wires are loose.

Dolce Electric Co schedules an in-office electrician Mesa AZ homeowners and businesses can consult with free of charge during normal business hours. You may be comfortable changing a switch and our in-office electrician will even assist you over the phone. Finding loose connections, identifying failing circuit breakers and evaluating your incoming power should however be addressed by individuals that have experience with electrical circuitry or licensed electricians in Mesa AZ.


Lights Get Very Bright At Random

If your lights get very bright at random and then come back to normal brilliance you are experiencing a problem with excessive voltage. This is usually the result of improper wiring or a problem with the neutral wire or the neutral bar.

  • Neutral Wire:
    Lights can get very bright sometimes when a neutral wire becomes loose. Residential electrical systems often have two hot wires, each carrying 120 volts, which share one common neutral wire. Commercial and industrial systems can have three hot wires that share one neutral wire. If the neutral wire becomes loose at the neutral bar in your panel or in a splice in the circuit you could get much higher voltages across your lights.
  • Neutral Bar:
    Look to the neutral bar inside your electrical panel if a majority of the lights in your home or office suddenly get very bright. The neutral bar may be lacking the proper grounding and have a failing connection with the power company’s neutral wire. This could affect all 120 volt outlets too and can cause severe damage to anything plugged into the electrical system.

This issue should be addressed by individuals having experience with electrical wiring or licensed, bonded and insured Mesa electricians.


Lights Blinking On And Off At Random

  • Recessed Lights:
    When recessed lighting blinks on and off at random it is usually related to the thermal protector built in the housing of the recessed fixture. The thermal protector is there to shut the fixture off before it overheats; it’s a fire safety device. While it can be a case of the thermal protector failing, it’s usually a case of an over sized light bulb. Try reducing the light bulb size or use LED or CFL bulbs to correct the blinking recessed lighting problem.
  • Loose Connections:
    A loose connection causes resistance and resistance creates heat. When metal heats up and cools down again it expands and contract, often times enough to make contact and break contact in an electrical circuit. If only some of the lights controlled by a single switch blink on and off at random look for a loose connection behind those switched lights. If your lights blink on and off in more than one area look for a loose connection in the wires that supply electricity from the panel to the blinking lights and switches. In both cases the splices of the hot wires and neutral wires should be checked for a tight splice. This should be done by individuals experienced with electrical circuits or licensed Mesa AZ electricians.
  • The Circuit Breaker:
    Much like a loose connection, make sure the circuit breaker is securely fitted on the buss bar and the load lug where the wire attaches is tight. Check all connections on the neutral bar inside the panel too.
  • Photo Cells:
    Exterior lighting is sometimes turned on and off automatically through the use of a photo cell. If you have exterior lighting that’s controlled by a photo cell and lights blinking on and off become an issue, try adjusting the photo cell. Sometimes the lights the photo cell turns on can trick the photo cell into the daylight or off mode. This would cycle back and forth as the lights go on and off. If adjustments don’t resolve the issue, change the photo cell out with a new one, it may be defective.

Lights Won’t Turn On

If your lights won’t turn on there are 9 possible problems that need to be inspected.

  • The Bulbs:
    Make sure the light bulb is good. Fluorescent fixtures with more than one light bulb will need all of the light bulbs to be good for the fixture to work.
  • The Light Socket:
    Fixtures using screw in type light bulbs need to make contact with the light bulb through the metal tap located in the bottom center of the light bulb socket. Sometimes these tabs become flattened and contact is no longer made with the light bulb. Make sure the power is turned off and gently pull the center tab up enough to make contact with the light bulb. If you have a voltage tester you can confirm that the socket is getting power before doing this.
  • The Ballast:
    If the fixture is making a humming noise or was making a humming noise before failing you may need the ballast replaced. This would apply to fluorescent, high pressure sodium and mercury vapor lighting fixtures.
  • The Switch:
    A broken switch can be the cause if all of the lights controlled by that switch no longer turn on. If other lights controlled by different switches no longer work as well the problem is most likely elsewhere.
  • The Photo Cell:
    Often times outdoor lighting will be turned on and off automatically by a photo cell. Make sure the photo cell has power coming to it and try adjusting the photo cell to correct the problem. If adjustments don’t correct the problem a new photo cell may be needed. Some fixtures have a built in photo cell that operates the fixture individually and other fixtures will be wired to a main photo cell that controls multiple lights. In both cases the photo cell can be bypassed to verify it’s the problem. This should be done by an individual that has experience with electrical wiring or a licensed electrician.
  • The Time Clock:
    Some lighting systems are controlled by a time clock. Make sure the time clock is set with the correct time and times of operation. Confirm that the time clock has power coming into it and leaving it. Most time clocks have a lever or selector switch that can be moved to on; see if that energizes your lights. Replace time clock if needed.
  • The Motion Sensor:
    Some lights are designed to come on only when motion is detected. Try adjusting the motion sensor to correct the problem. Also try moving the selector switch to the test mode to see if it works at all. Replace if needed.
  • The Wiring:
    A loose connection or severed wire can compromise your ability to turn your lights on. If you turn a switch on and find some lights come on but others don’t, there may be a loose connection behind one of the light fixtures. If multiple light switches won’t turn any lights on there could be a severed wire or loose connection in the wiring providing power to these switches. Check both the hot and neutral wires and connections. We recommend contacting an experienced electrician in Mesa to address this issue.
  • The Circuit Breaker:
    Check to make sure the circuit breaker has not tripped off. If it has tripped, try resetting the circuit breaker. If your circuit breaker will not reset and you just replaced the light bulbs you may have a defective light bulb causing the circuit breaker to trip. Remove light bulbs and try to reset the circuit breaker again. If it still won’t reset it’s time to call an electrician.

Lights Won’t Turn Off

If your lights won’t turn off you need to replace the switch or device that turns the lights on and off. This can include photo cells and time clocks that govern the light’s operation. It should be noted that sometimes a photo cell will need adjusting for proper operation and time clocks need to be set with the correct time of day and times of operation. Our Mesa electricians can do this for you but it is usually fairly simple to correct and you can always call our in-office electricians in Mesa for free over the phone help.


Lights Make A Humming Noise

Fluorescent, high pressure sodium and mercury vapor light fixtures all use electronic ballasts located within the fixture. If your lighting is making a humming noise you may need to replace a ballast. This will require the ability to read a wiring diagram and follow directions. We schedule an electrician Mesa homeowners can consult with free of charge for help with ballast replacements.


Light Bulbs Burn Out Quickly

A standard incandescent light bulb has a lifespan of around 900 hours, that’s approximately 4 months if it’s used 8 hours a day. If your light bulbs burn out quickly there are a few things worth checking out.

  • Light Bulb Size:
    It’s important to use the correct size light bulb in each fixture. Bigger light bulbs will deliver more light but also create more heat. This excessive heat can shorten the bulbs life especially if the light bulb is enclosed where the heat cannot escape. Check the fixture for the recommended light bulb size and replace accordingly.
  • Higher than Normal Voltage:
    The standard operating voltage for residential lighting is 120 volts unless low voltage lighting has been installed. A 120 volt circuit is considered normal with voltage readings anywhere from 115 to 125 volts. Levels above 125 volts are considered excessive and will cause your light bulbs to burn brighter and burn out quicker. This can be damaging to other devices in your home, especially electronics and computers. Call a qualified electrician in Mesa if you are experiencing excessive voltage problems.
  • Power Surges:
    A power surge can be reasonably small or very large. A powerful surge can actually burst the light bulbs and smaller ones can strike regularly and go reasonably unnoticed. If you think power surges are causing problems with the lighting in your home or business see our page about whole house surge protection.
  • Vibrations:
    Excessive vibrations will shorten the life expectancy of a light bulb too. This is most commonly seen in lighting that’s part of a ceiling fan or garage door opener. If your ceiling fan is shaking excessively it can be balanced for better performance, which will lengthen the light bulbs life span. You can also install light bulbs that are designed to withstand ceiling fan vibrations.

Both commercial and residential customers can consult with our Mesa electricians free of charge today, Friday, August 23rd, 2019, from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Our in-office electrician has over 30 years of professional experience with all kinds of lighting problems. Give him a call today during business hours; you’ll be happy you did!

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