How to Fix Sagging Recessed Lighting

A popular interior design choice, recessed lighting blends in with the ceiling yet provides high-quality lighting. It can define the character and mood of a room. That’s until recessed light fixtures start to sag. If not fixed, the trim will continue to sag, and cut drywall will be exposed; drywall dust may start falling and make a big mess. Here’s a look at how to fix sagging recessed lighting to eliminate or avoid these issues.

To fix sagging recessed lighting, start with the following steps:

  • Turn Off the Breaker: Cut power at the circuit breaker to avoid shock when working on the light fixture. Current can still pass through even with a wall switch off, creating a safety hazard if bare skin or a metal tool touches the interior of the socket.
  • Gather Your Tools: For DIY recessed lighting repair, you’ll need a screwdriver, voltage tester, new spring clips, and drop cloth to protect floors/furnishings from debris. Also, find a secure ladder. Have a replacement bulb ready to install as well.
  • Remove the Bulb: First, let the bulb cool and then unscrew it. 
  • Remove the Trim: Use a screwdriver or needle-nose pliers to release the springs and dismount the trim. Inspect the springs that secured the trim to the fixture body. Where the trim was sagging, a spring is likely stretched out. 

How you proceed next depends on the trim style. Here’s how to fix sagging recessed lighting fixtures with these most common trim types:

  • Non-Adjustable Trims: First, remove the spring clips by unhooking them from the socket plate or the fixture housing. The trim should then release from the fixture or ceiling. Insert the new spring clips into the openings along the trim’s edge and hook them onto the socket plate. You can now lock the trim into place.
  • Adjustable Trims: Press the arms of the torsion springs together and unhook them from the spring receivers in the fixture wall. If the fixture is loose, increase torsion by placing the trim down with springs facing up; push on the sides of the springs to create a wider V-shape. Re-install the recessed lighting fixture by squeezing the sides of the springs together and inserting them into the spring receivers. Hold and lock the trim in place.
  • Clamp Fixtures: A clamped recessed fixture has four black metal clips inside. Find the loose clip and insert a flat-blade screwdriver into its slot; then push up to snap the clip back into place. If a clip is bent or missing, remove it and slide a new clip into the slot, using a screwdriver to push it in.

Once you have re-inserted the recessed light trim, it should sit flush against the ceiling. If so, then install the light bulb and switch the circuit breaker back on. Make sure the new bulb is the correct wattage before restoring power, to avoid any damage to the fixture and/or its wiring.

When to Hire an Electrician

If you know how to fix sagging recessed lighting, a DIY fix shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you’re not experienced with this or run into equipment or wiring issues, you’ll need an electrician’s help. Fortunately, the licensed electricians at Express Electrical Services can install and repair all types of lightning. Our Los Angeles electricians are skilled at recessed lighting installation and will ensure it meets your expectations in terms of aesthetics and function. For assistance, you can reach us 24/7 at 323-727-7799.