9 Things To Do Before Calling an Electrician About Your Lighting

Dealing with non-functioning lights in your home can be a hassle and might immediately prompt you to think of calling an electrician. However, before you pick up the phone, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take. These steps not only help you understand the nature of the problem but might also save you time and money. At Sac Town Electric, we believe in empowering our customers by sharing our expertise. This blog offers a detailed guide to help you effectively troubleshoot lighting issues before seeking professional help.

1. Check Your Circuit Breaker or Fuse Box

The heart of your home’s electrical system is the circuit breaker or fuse box. If your lights aren’t working, this should be your first stop. A tripped circuit breaker is often a simple fix – just locate your breaker box and check for any switches that have flipped to the “off” position. Flip them back on and check if the lights work. For homes with fuse boxes, inspect for any burnt-out fuses. Replace any damaged fuses with new ones of the same rating. If you’re uncomfortable or unsure about handling the breaker or fuse box, it’s best to wait for an electrician.

2. Inspect Other Lights and Outlets

Before concluding that a specific light or fixture is faulty, check other lights and outlets in the same room or circuit. This can help determine whether the issue is localized or indicative of a broader electrical problem. If other fixtures aren’t working, it could point to a circuit issue that may require professional attention.

3. Test the Light Bulbs

It’s common for light bulbs to burn out, and sometimes the issue is as simple as replacing a bulb. Ensure that you use the correct type and wattage for your fixture, and that the bulb is screwed in securely. Loose bulbs can disrupt the connection and prevent the light from working. Consider switching to LED bulbs, which last longer and are more energy-efficient.

4. Examine for Visible Damage or Loose Connections

Take a closer look at the non-functioning light fixture. Check for any visible signs of damage, such as cracked sockets, frayed wires, or evidence of overheating. If the fixture has a switch, ensure it’s operating correctly. Sometimes, the problem can be traced to a loose wire in the switch or the fixture. However, refrain from attempting to repair wiring or electrical connections unless you have experience with electrical work, as this can be hazardous.

5. Reset GFCI Outlets

GFCI outlets are designed to protect against electrical shock and are commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor areas. If your lighting issue is in one of these areas, check for a tripped GFCI outlet. These outlets have a ‘Test’ and a ‘Reset’ button. Press the ‘Reset’ button to restore power. If GFCI outlets frequently trip, it could indicate a more significant electrical issue that requires professional attention.

6. Understand Three-Way Switch Configurations

If your non-working light is controlled by multiple switches, you may have a three-way switch configuration. Sometimes, these switches can be mistakenly misaligned, causing the light to not function correctly. Try adjusting the switches in different combinations to see if this resolves the issue.

7. Consider Dimmer Switch Issues

For lights controlled by dimmer switches, the issue could be within the dimmer mechanism itself. Dimmer switches can wear out over time or may not be compatible with certain types of light bulbs, like some LEDs. If you suspect the dimmer switch is faulty, it’s wise to consult with an electrician, as replacing or repairing dimmers involves working directly with your home’s wiring.

8. Look for External Factors

Sometimes, lighting issues can be influenced by external factors. For example, outdoor lighting may be impacted by weather conditions, or indoor lights may flicker or dim due to large appliances drawing power on the same circuit. Identifying these external factors can help in troubleshooting and explaining the situation to an electrician if needed.

9. Make Detailed Notes for Your Electrician

If after all these steps your lighting issue persists, it’s time to call a professional. Make detailed notes of all the checks you’ve performed and their outcomes. This information will be invaluable to your electrician, enabling them to diagnose the problem more efficiently and effectively.


Troubleshooting lighting issues in your home can be a straightforward process if you follow these steps. However, if you’re ever in doubt or the problem persists, don’t hesitate to contact us at Sac Town Electric. Our team of skilled electricians is equipped to handle any lighting issue, ensuring your home’s electrical system is safe and functional. Remember, while DIY troubleshooting can be helpful, safety should always be your top priority. For any electrical concerns or questions, Sac Town Electric is here to provide professional, reliable assistance.

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