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Lamps and Light Fixtures

Parts of a Lamp

Most incandescent lamps have a socket, switch, cord and plug. Any one of these parts may wear out and need to be replaced. To check a lamp that doesn't work, test the light bulb, plug the lamp into another receptacle to be sure the receptacle isn't at fault and check the plug and cord for wear.

NOTE: A lamp assembled with rivets instead of nuts and bolts can't be taken apart for repair, so you'll have to replace it.

CAUTION: Before working on any lamp, make sure it's unplugged.

Incandescent Light Fixtures

There are many types of incandescent light fixtures including wall and ceiling-mounted lights, from single-bulb globes to chandeliers. They are all connected directly to your home's wiring through a recessed ceiling box hidden by the fixture or a decorative canopy. Though instruction here are for repairing and replacing ceiling-mounted fixtures, you'll use the same procedures for wall-mounted styles.

When a Fixture Doesn't Work

First check the light bulb and then check the circuit and light switch. If the fixture is the problem, the cause may be in the wiring or the socket. Detach the fixture from the ceiling box and check for a loose connection. Tighten if necessary. If the fixture still doesn't work try to replace it or repair it following the instructions found below.

Replacing a Fixture

  • Shut off the power, remove the bulb and unscrew the cap nuts to free the fixture from the screws on the ceiling box.
  • Disconnect the old fixture and strip 1/2 inch off the new wires.
  • Wrap the bare ends around the circuit wires and bend over.
  • Install wire nuts.
  • Carefully push the new fixture onto the screws that hold it to the ceiling box.
  • Screw on the cap nuts to secure the fixture and replace the bulb.

Replacing a Prewired Socket

  • Turn off the power and remove the glass shade.
  • Unscrew the fixture screws to free the fixture.
  • Unscrew the wire nuts to disconnect the socket wires from the circuit wires.
  • Unclip and remove the faulty socket from the fixture.
  • Attach the new socket by pushing the wires through and splicing them to the circuit wires with wire nuts.
  • Reattach the fixture and replace the cover.

Rewiring a Chandelier Arm

  • Shut off the power to the circuit.
  • Remove the sleeve, detach the wires from the socket terminal screws and unscrew the socket.
  • Remove the cap under the fixture.
  • Temporarily tape the new socket wires to the old.
  • Detach the old wires from the main cord wires and pull the new wires thorough.
  • Screw on the new socket and connect the new wires.
  • Remove the old socket wires and attach the new ones to the main cord wires.
  • Reassemble the fixture.


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