Recessed Lighting Problems

37 responses

  1. Lance Godette
    June 16, 2013

    I recently installed twelve 6" canned lighting units in my home. I purchased 6" LED lights as my light source. All of the LED lights fit perfectly - flush mounted with the ceiling. However, three of the LED lights seem not to fit entirely inside the canned unit. When I attempt to insert the LED light into the can, it either slips/pushes back or seemingly will not fit properly. The tensioners are in working order and both the canned unit and LED lights are 6" in size. I checked to see if I could adjust the inside height of the canned unit socket and determined that was not an option.

    Have you any suggestions?

    Thank you for your assistance.

  2. Elvis Selman
    November 14, 2013

    One of two recessed lights is going off and on about every 4 minutes. I removed all the insulation that might be a problem. The insulation doesn't appear to be the problem. The light next to it (about 4 ft .away) works perfectly. I have disassembled the problem light and can't identify a "thermal protector" and can only assume that it may be in a metal box near the fixture. There is a flex line running from that box to the small metal cup that holds the ceramic socket. Can you give me a clue as to what to look for?

  3. Chuck Koch
    February 6, 2014

    Can lights worked fine but now only half as bright as when installed. Could this be a switch gone bad?

  4. Chuck C.
    August 31, 2014

    "Your husband very likely made several mistakes during the installation..." I don't think your target audience of DIYer husbands finds much pleasure in this kind of tone and will likely seek their advice elsewhere.

    • Tim Carter
      September 1, 2014

      Chuck, are you serious? Am I supposed to not tell the truth? If her husband made mistakes, shouldn't I acknowledge them? Me thinks you're a bit sensitive. Toughen up buddy.

  5. JohnA
    September 21, 2014

    Tim, I've got 4 recessed lights in the kitchen that operate off the same switch. One light I though blew, so I put a new bulb in, and nothing. Thought that bulb maybe was bad also, so I take one from a working light and put it in it, and still nothing. I put that light back in the working one and it's bad now also!! What the heck is goin on? Any ideas? The lights were installed by a licensed elec. and passed insp. I'm a carpenter, and have zero experience as far as troubleshooting electrical. Thx.

  6. Doug
    November 18, 2014

    Light was crooked I went to straighten it flashed all lights went out took socket holder out put in new bulb reset circuit breaker all lights worked but the one light socket hangs with a white and black wire from top of can with a looks like small chip at top of can have not taken can apart yet ?? This doug

    • Tim Carter
      November 19, 2014

      Take it apart. Diagnose what is broken. Fix it. Very simple. This is Tim.

  7. Nikoline Eriksen
    November 30, 2014

    Hi Tim. 2 out of 3 Recessed lights in our bathroom has gone, but getting the fitting out to replace the bulbs seems impossible. The fitting does not twist and cannot be pulled out. It looks like it has been sealed in? Can that be true? Do I really need to start cutting away the white silicon rim around the fitting? Nikoline

    • Tim Carter
      November 30, 2014

      I wish I could help you, but without being there to see this thing I'm at a disadvantage. I can tell you this. Think how the light was installed. Almost ALWAYS the electrician puts in a rough housing. Then the drywall or plaster people come and the painter. Then the LAST THING is the electrician putting in the trim that you see to finish it off. Remove the bulb and really inspect the inside of the fixture for springs. Sometimes the trim is held in by a tension clip. Good luck to you!

      • Nikoline Eriksen
        November 30, 2014

        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! The problem is that I can't even get to the bulb as the cover seems to be sealed all the way around to the ceiling (basically it looks like it's glued to the ceiling). Is this normal practice in bathrooms. The rest of the lights in our home do not have this seal.

  8. Todd
    December 10, 2014

    I've just installed six rerecessed Philips LED lights and a Leviton dimmer. everything works great, but when the lights are off you can still see a faint glow. What could be the problem? Thank you

    • Tim Carter
      December 10, 2014

      phantom electricity. The glow should go away after a few minutes. Does it? Or do they glow for hours at night?

      • Todd
        January 22, 2015

        Tried 4 different switches with no luck, then I pulled the light from the can and it shut off completely, as soon as I put it back in it came back on. The can is not energized, I checked with my voltmeter. I even put electrical tape on the metal springs that hold the light and that didn't work. Now I'm very confused

      • jim
        January 10, 2016

        Very common actually. Half the dimmers in my home only reduce to a very dim glow. I have had some that have a distinct OFF click and those go off. On the bright side, I don't mind 'cause they act like night lights.

  9. Todd
    December 10, 2014

    I was told they stay on constantly. My thought is a bad switch?

  10. Linda
    March 11, 2015

    I thought maybe my bulb blew out in my recessed lighting. Went to replace it and the socket seems loose and spinning. Checked others and no problem with them. Blew the circuit and tried again to tighten the bulb. It blew again. Can not get light to work. How do I tighten the socket inside the recessed lighting. Thanks, Linda

    • Tim Carter
      March 11, 2015

      You need to call in an electrician. You have a SERIOUS fire hazard. The socket wiring is shorting out. TURN OFF THE BREAKER NOW and get an electrician out there as soon as possible.

  11. Jason
    March 22, 2015

    I have two recessed lights that keep shitting off and no insulation covering them. I replaced the 75 watt floods with 75 watt equivalent LED floods, same thing happened. So I went a step further down to smaller 49watt equivalent LED floods they still shut off. They've been doing this for years so I want to finally get them taken care of. I'm told there are specific lights I need to use and was curious if you might have more info by chance?

    Appreciate and guidance.

  12. Richard
    April 3, 2015

    Hi Tim, I have a similar problem as Linda from March 22, 2015 except that I am not blowing any circuits. The recessed lighting appears to burn out, but when I reach up to twist the bulb it will turn on again. Within the day, the bulb seems to "burn out" again. All other lights recessed cans remain lit. I reach up, twist, and the seemingly burned out bulb turns on once again. Is this the same serious issue as Linda? Any insight is appreciated... Thanks.

  13. Frank
    August 20, 2015

    I recently installed a series of 5 recessed lights in a ceiling with no insulation. The LED Lights work fine, but one gets very hot, as hot as an incandescent bulb. The bulbs in the other fixtures are fairly cool to the touch. I've tried swapping bulbs and using different kinds of bulbs, and they all get very hot in that one fixture. Could it be a bad fixture?

    • jim
      January 10, 2016

      As Tim mentioned, first be sure you installed proper, IC-designated fixtures. Nothing is perfect and LED lighting is still essentially in its early stage of development. Like any electronic device, LED bulbs generate heat (more than CFL in fact). However, if you have one that is noticeably hotter than the others, it is likely defective. I would try to return it for replacement or contact the manufacturer. In the meantime, I wouldn't use it. Also like any electronic device that is malfunctioning, it can catch fire all by itself.

  14. Dan
    September 10, 2015

    I have an old recessed lighting fixture over my kitchen sink. It began turning on and off by itself a few weeks ago. On for 7 minutes and off for 1-2 minutes. I replaced the light switch, removed the ceramic light socket and metal cover in the fixture, removed the metal flex to the fixture, and replaced the light fixture with a new LED 18Watt surface mounted fixture. It is tied into the same Romex wiring. AND IT IS STILL GOING ON AND OFF!!!! Where should I look for the thermistor to remove it from the remaining parts of the old fixture?

    • jim
      January 10, 2016

      Anything else on that circuit acting strangely? I just inspected a job where the suspect light was actually the victim of a very lightly loaded GFI outlet. If this circuit is a on a GFI protected circuit, cycle the GFI breaker(s) a few times and see if this helps.

  15. Gina
    December 20, 2015

    I just had recessed lighting installed in my basemenr. When I turn the lights off there is still a faint glow in the bulbs. What could this be?

    • jim
      January 10, 2016

      Are your lights turned off with an actual switch or a combo dimmer/switch. I find it very common for dimmers to leave the bulbs dimly lit when at their lowest settings. On the other hand, if you have an actual switch, or the dimmer has an actual OFF position (you can feel the click), then I would get an electrician in to inspect the wiring to make sure all is proper (blk on blk, wht on wht, grn on grn, never the twain to meet except in the Main Panel 🙂 ).

      Tim: I've seen several questions now that mention this "glowing" effect with canned lights. Is there something about canned lights specifically that might cause this (i.e., luminescent coatings or materials)?

  16. John
    February 11, 2016

    Hi Tim I just had hallo 6 inch high hats installed. The first two turned on the other six will not go on. The wiring is good. Driving me nuts.

    • Tim Carter
      February 11, 2016

      Simple. Loose connection between #2 and the other 4.

  17. Brenda
    April 7, 2016

    Hoping you can help, we have 4 dimmable recessed lights in our living room. Our house was built in 2004 and we have lived here for 5 years. During the last year one of the lights has started turning on or off for anywhere from a couple of seconds to a minute. I've tried tightening the bulb and it seems to fix it for a few days and then starts up again. Same when I change the bulb. Now the bulb has burned out completely. Could it be a bad fixture? All the other lights that run off the same switch work fine. We have dimmable LED bulbs from Costco in all the fixtures. And all the lights have 3 way wiring. I'm not sure if we need to replace the fixture or if we might have something else going on? We did rewire the light switches prior to all this starting, but since the other lights work fine I don't know how that could be the problem. Any suggestion on what to look for?? Thanks so much!

  18. Song
    April 22, 2016

    Recently moved into new house with recessed lighting with MR16 sockets. One particular area in the basement two lights are connected to the same light switch but one no longer works. Checked behind the switch for loose or frayed wires and they all seemed fine with juice flowing (checked with voltage meter). Took apart the broken light and first checked for bad bulb. Checked it against the one that is working and it worked. Then I check for juice and both lights had juice. What could be the problem? I replaced the M16 on the one that isn't working, checked it for juice and replaced new bulb and it still doesn't work. Thoughts?

  19. Zak W
    May 12, 2016

    We just bought a new home and the can light take a while to brighten up. Is this normal? The family room, hallway and master bedroom do not but they are slso on a dimmer...

  20. Chris
    August 6, 2016

    Yesterday I installed 4 juno ic22 recessed lights, and wired them today. Before hanging sheetrock, I put 2 light bulbs (not the ones I intended using) at the first and last light in the run, wired up the switch, and they turned on fine. Just got done hanging the last piece of sheetrock on the ceiling and attempted to turn lights on again and a spark emitted where one of the rails on the light fixture was touching the ductwork and tripped the breaker. (???) Ripped the sheetrock off and moved the arm away from the duct, which hangs below the ceiling height, and flipped breaker back on and attempted to test them again. There is a humming noise coming from the lights, which stay on for about 4-5 seconds, then trips the breaker again. Anyone have any info on this??

  21. Diane
    November 19, 2016

    Hi Tim, we had our recessed can lights installed in our remodeled kitchen and also into a porch area that was closed in and is now part of the house. New wiring in the porch area. when I turn on the recessed lights there I hear a high pitched ringing noise (as if I had ringing in my ears). It doesn't happen in the kitchen. Both sets are on dimmer switches. Is it the lights or the switch?

  22. Neal Pachtman
    November 30, 2016

    Several high hats in my 30 year old home have slipped away from the ceiling. Do you know of a way to tighten them upward? Thanks

  23. Alexander West
    March 1, 2017

    Wwe have recessed lighting in both our living/Dining room and kitchen. the fixtures all seem the same as do the bulbs (same wattage). However the kitchen lights are much duller brightness and yellowish. Could this be a voltage issue?

    • Tim Carter
      March 1, 2017

      No. Bulb color temperature. Read my columns about that topic.

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