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Old 12-15-2011, 04:02 PM   #1
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Porch light suddenly doesn't work


So I have this porch light that had burned out its bulb quite a while ago (sometime during the summer). At the time I never replaced it because the days were so long and we never get visitors after dark anyway.
Well now it's dark by 5:30 and a porch light would be nice to have.

Here's the deal though. I put a bulb in the outlet and nothing...
No light when I flipped the switch.
I unscrewed the bulb and checked for AC voltage inside the bulb's socket and got nothing. No breakers appear to be tripped and the only GFCI outlets we have are in the bathroom and they're both fine.

Where do I even start troubleshooting this? I think it's pretty unlikely that the switch went bad. ...or is it?

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Old 12-15-2011, 04:20 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by 211 View Post
So I have this porch light that had burned out its bulb quite a while ago (sometime during the summer). At the time I never replaced it because the days were so long and we never get visitors after dark anyway.
Well now it's dark by 5:30 and a porch light would be nice to have.

Here's the deal though. I put a bulb in the outlet and nothing...
No light when I flipped the switch.
I unscrewed the bulb and checked for AC voltage inside the bulb's socket and got nothing. No breakers appear to be tripped and the only GFCI outlets we have are in the bathroom and they're both fine.

Where do I even start troubleshooting this? I think it's pretty unlikely that the switch went bad. ...or is it?
How old is your house?
Nearly every house has an outdoor outlet with a GFCI. Double check those before you get too far into it.

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Old 12-15-2011, 04:24 PM   #3
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Porch light suddenly doesn't work


early 70's built (71 IIRC).
The only GFCI outlets were ones I installed. We only have one outside outlet and it is not GFCI

Last edited by 211; 12-15-2011 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:28 PM   #4
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Porch light suddenly doesn't work


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Originally Posted by fuzzball03 View Post
How old is your house?
Nearly every house has an outdoor outlet with a GFCI. Double check those before you get too far into it.
Why would a porch light,
be on the same circuit as an outdoor outlet ?
I thought lights and outlets usually have seperate breakers ?
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:29 PM   #5
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Porch light suddenly doesn't work


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Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
Why would a porch light,
be on the same circuit as an outdoor outlet ?
I thought lights and outlets usually have seperate breakers ?
Not this house...
I've got breakers that kill the kitchen lights when the vacuum is plugged into the bedroom hallway .
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:37 PM   #6
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Porch light suddenly doesn't work


First open the fixure check for voltage if there is none go back to the switch and check for voltage and just work your way backwards. Btw switches go bad all the time
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Old 12-15-2011, 04:41 PM   #7
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Porch light suddenly doesn't work


Turn off the breaker first !
Open up the light fixture,
Have a look at the wires,
note where they go,
If it all looks good and safe,
turn on breaker,
and carefully test for power.
What are the results ?
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:04 PM   #8
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Porch light suddenly doesn't work


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how do I know which breaker to turn off?
Are the breakers not marked ?
If not you might have to follow the cable !
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:08 PM   #9
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Porch light suddenly doesn't work


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how do I know which breaker to turn off?
In that case, follow these instructions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...CbCSM_4#t=103s
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Old 12-16-2011, 05:52 AM   #10
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Porch light suddenly doesn't work


Turn off the whole house main breaker if you haven't the knowledge or skills to figure out the situation--

After you get this fixed---label your breaker box--


You seem to lack a basic understanding of household wiring---perhaps an electrician should be called---not everyone can or should do electrical work.
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:46 PM   #11
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Porch light suddenly doesn't work


If it's an outside light make sure it didn't get chewed somewhere by rodents!

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