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Old 05-09-2012, 11:52 AM   #1
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Kitchen Lighting Help


I know we will probably have to call an electrician but before I did I wanted to ask some questions and see if anyone can help. We have 2 can lights (I think thats what their called) in our kitchen above our bar. The bulbs burned out, which we thought would be no big deal, and when we tried to replace, they would blow out when turned on. Long story short, these must be discontinued bulbs now because no one carries them anymore. The prongs are different from any in store.

So we went to Lowe's and purchased a whole new light set. We turned all kitchen breakers off, attempted to disconnect old light but the outlet was still hot and sparked. Not sure why, breakers were off. So I guess I have 2 questions. Why would the outlet still be hot, and do they just stop making bulbs for these types of lights when they become old? The house is about 20 years old I guess...

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. It's been dark in my kitchen for months!

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Old 05-09-2012, 12:05 PM   #2
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Kitchen Lighting Help


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Originally Posted by kwood4444 View Post
Why would the outlet still be hot, and do they just stop making bulbs for these types of lights when they become old? The house is about 20 years old I guess...
The simplest answer I can give to the hot light is the power is still on. Most likely from a different room. you may have to use a voltage tester to see when the power is off. As to why the bulbs blow out when new...that is a clasic symtom of a loose neutral wire. As to the discontinued bulb question, no one can answer that unless we know what type of bulb it is.

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Old 05-09-2012, 02:38 PM   #3
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Kitchen Lighting Help


what dan said. you will need to get a multimeter or similar and have someone stand at the light watching the voltage as someone else flips breakers off. once the power is lost at the light, you found the breaker! i know in my house, there is a circuit called 'kitchen lights' which serves five overhead lights in the kitchen except it doesn't serve the two lights over the kitchen island. these lights are served from...the basement circuit. beats me why it is that way, i'm guessing the electrician had a reason when the place was built.

as for the bulb type, post a picture
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:48 PM   #4
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Kitchen Lighting Help


In my house, all of the lights are on a single, separate circuit. You need to turn the switch on and check for voltage in the bulb socket. If you get power, then turn the breaker off and check it again. Only if I get 0 Volts will I start to take a light apart. Maybe I'm just overly careful from working around 480 3-ph and higher, but even with 120, you're not guaranteed a second chance.
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:00 PM   #5
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Kitchen Lighting Help


Save for the circuit is still half hot when you flip the breaker? I wonder if the breaker is half bad or something?

Otherwise sounds like a loose neutral to me too. A very common culprit in blowing bulbs and making switches pop. It may not be local to your fixtures or switches though. The neutral may have come loose behind the panel of your breaker box. It may be as simple as replacing the breaker and tightening a screw.

How comfortable are you working on your circuit breaker box with the cover off? I would not recommend it if you are not sure because it is totally hot back there.

I used to work with electricians every day and put some of their kids through school. I know to others they seem expensive---they like to get into your shorts. And mine were very fast at fixing things. I was never overcharged. I can go one with puns but you get my point.

As for the bulbs? Just because a box store does not have them does not mean nobody has them. Save for antique bulbs, an electrical supplier or lighting shop should be able to help you out. Or if you can still read the markings on the bulb base? Shop online.
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Old 05-09-2012, 04:00 PM   #6
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Kitchen Lighting Help


One thing you might check is if the bulbs are 12 volt instead of 120 volt. I have a lamp that says 120 volt, but it actually takes 12 volt bulbs. I tried the 120 volt bulb and it barely put out a dim glow. You might have the opposite situation, with a 12 volt can light (although I'm not sure many (any?) exist).

But plenty of online places for bulbs. Here is just one of many.

http://www.1000bulbs.com/

Last edited by M3 Pete; 05-09-2012 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 04:32 PM   #7
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Kitchen Lighting Help


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Originally Posted by kwood4444 View Post

So I guess I have 2 questions. Why would the outlet still be hot, and do they just stop making bulbs for these types of lights when they become old? The house is about 20 years old I guess...
Its still hot because the breaker and switch controlling the lights is still on. You can turn off the main power for 30 minutes while you work, or find the correct breaker and turn it off.

As for the light bulbs, I highly doubt they are discontinued bulbs. The store you went to may not have them, though. Take a bulb in and bring it to the store for comparison.

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