Unlike a simple overhead light, ceiling fan lights have a few more connections and are connected to moving machinery. Add in the decorative fixtures and covers, and you have a light unit that often malfunctions. Here’s how to fix your ceiling fan light so you aren’t left in the dark.
Before doing any work, turn off the breaker to the room. Turning off the ceiling fan switch isn’t enough — you want zero power running through the system while you work.
You should also unscrew and set aside all the light covers or other fixtures to clear the area and prevent yourself from accidentally breaking any glass.
Check for Simple Fixes
Some mistakes may seem obvious, but always check for simple problems first. When you’re up on a ladder and dealing with a brand new ceiling fan, anybody might make these common errors:
- Check the maximum wattage indicated by the manufacturer.
- Check the size or shape of bulb required.
- Make sure the bulbs are screwed in snug and firm.
- Try light bulbs made for a ceiling fan. The filaments will be more stable and can better withstand the shaking of the fan.
Replace the Light’s Pull Chain
If the chain to flip the lights on and off suddenly fails to work, the chain probably has become detached or broken inside the light unit. This requires a cheap, simple fix — but you do need to disconnect the light unit to fix it properly.
The pull chain and its connector pieces can be purchased inexpensively at most hardware stores. The ceiling fan light has wires that attach to the chain and are held in place by nuts; go ahead and replace the entire pull chain system to be safe.
Look for Signs of Bad Wiring
Faulty wiring in the ceiling fan and light kit would be the next most common reason for problems with the lights. You may notice that the lights can turn on but the bulbs are burning out faster than anticipated, or you may even notice a burning smell.
Check for burn or scorch marks on the light bulb sockets. Burnt sockets tell you that the wiring is overheated. Be thankful that you’re dealing with ceiling fan lights that don’t work instead of a house fire!
Fixing Bad Wiring Inside the Ceiling Fan
Electrical wiring can be dangerous and difficult for amateurs, so homeowners should always consider the easy solution of calling in an electrician. The DIY crowd may lose many hours and waste money on the wrong parts. A pro can fix a ceiling fan light very quickly and easily.
Anybody can do a few things to troubleshoot bad wiring in a ceiling fan light:
- Verify that bad wiring is to blame, then call a professional electrician for help. Just open up the light unit and look for disconnected, burnt, or damaged wires and connectors.
- Before doing any wiring work yourself, take photographs of the wiring so you can replace it all correctly afterward.
- Check for a light unit kit from your ceiling fan manufacturer so you can just replace all the wiring with relative ease.
If your ceiling fan lights don’t respond to any of those fixes, definitely call your trusty local electrician to get things working. The issue may be in the house’s wiring leading up to the ceiling fan — which would require much more expertise to fix. Don’t sit around scratching your head in the dark when an electrician can get those bulbs glowing in just minutes!