The popularity of recessed lighting in homes is undeniable. It is extremely versatile, as recessed lights can provide the primary source of lighting for a room, or be installed in localized areas, such as under cabinets or inside closets. While convenient and aesthetic, recessed lights are associated with some common problems. These issues, along with possible solutions, will be explained in this article.

Sagging Trim

Recessed lights can quickly liven up a room, but this impact may not last. The streamlined look may fade as the trim surrounding the light fixture sags or becomes loose. As a result, the fixture itself can become exposed, which can cause electrical problems and a fire hazard, and/or allow drafts into your home. An early sign of sagging is when the trim takes on a wavy look. In this case, the springs holding the trim are overstretched.

To fix a sagging recessed lighting trim or cover, turn off the light and the power supplying it (at the circuit breaker). Remove the trim or light cover by unhooking its springs. If the springs are damaged, replace them with new springs of equal size, and then re-install the trim or cover.

The Lights Turn Off

By its design, recessed lighting is prone to overheating; a limit switch shuts it off to prevent this from happening. The light will turn on again once it has cooled. If recessed lights frequently go off, an incorrect bulb may be installed, or the fixture may be in contact with ceiling insulation, which can affect temperature regulation. First, check whether the wattage of the bulb is compatible with the fixture; if so, you can replace the bulb yourself. Another possibility is a faulty limit switch, which can be replaced as well.

Blinking Lights

If the fixture is blinking, there may be an issue with the thermal protection device. Once the power is turned off, access the top of the recessed fixture in the attic or crawlspace above the ceiling. The thermal protection device may be a thin black cylinder or a small silver disc connected to the fixture’s wiring junction device. Disconnect the two wires to remove the device and replace it an identical one from a hardware store. This can be DIY if you’re comfortable with the task; if not, call a professional electrician.

Blown Bulb or Socket

A light bulb can eventually die out or become damaged. If the light isn’t working, inspect the bulb for any gray or black spots that would indicate it has blown. In this case, the bulb can be replaced and your fixture will work again. If the original bulb seems okay, or the replacement bulb doesn’t work, the socket may have blown. You may hear a low buzzing sound from a faulty socket, or you may find that bulbs frequently need to be replaced.

To fix the socket, turn off the power and remove the trim. Next, remove the socket by first unscrewing the fasteners attaching it to the fixture. Note the connections of each wire for reference when replacing the socket; there are two black wires and two white wires. With the trim re-installed and power back on, the fixture should work.

Contact Express Electrical Services

If you are experiencing recessed lighting problems in Southern California, contact Express Electrical Services for help. Our Los Angeles electricians are trained to correct any problem quickly and safely and can install any part or lighting fixture. We’re taking precautions to protect our customers and technicians from COVID-19, while guaranteeing 60-90-minute response times on most services and 24/7 emergency support. To request service, call us at 323-727-7799.