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There are multiple questions on this page. Be sure to scroll down to find the question you're looking for!

I have four-bulb fluorescent light fixtures in my house. Is it unsafe to remove some of the bulbs from each one and still use the lights with the remaining bulbs?

Unless your lights use T8 or T5 electronic ballasts, they may not work without all the bulbs installed. However, if it does then it's OK to run it like that, but you're really not saving much in energy since the ballast is still being energized anyway.

I have a wall light that used to work fine but has suddenly gone dim. I changed the bulb and checked the wires in the junction box behind the light. All the wire nuts were tight. So I changed the fixture and the new one is still dim. Any ideas?

It's possible that you have a loose neutral connection. It may be a little tricky trying to find it, as it could be at any junction between the light fixture and the circuit breaker panel, including other light fixtures or receptacles.
Try turning off the circuit breaker and then check all the wiring connections on every device in the circuit. Odds are this will uncover the problem.

In my new house the previous owner installed compact fluorescent light (CFL) fixtures that don’t have a regular screw-type socket, but use a twist-in 2-pin bulb instead. Can I modify the sockets so that I can replace these bulbs with regular CFLs?

A standard CFL has two pins (or a larger rectangular block) that allow it to be installed into a mating socket with a quarter-turn twist or a simple push. A modified CFL has an Edison style screw-base that allows you to install it in a standard incandescent light socket. These two lamps are not interchangeable. If you have a pin-style socket, then you'll need to use the pin CFL's. Eventually, you'll find the screw base sockets becoming obsolete, since the federal government is mandating that incandescent bulbs will no longer be allowed to be manufactured in a few years.

I have a fluorescent light fixture that uses four VHO 75 watt T12 lamps. Can I replace them with 4 T5 HO lamps instead?

No. The ballast for the fixture and the end sockets must also be changed to accommodate a T5 bulb.

Lately I’ve been experiencing frequent bulb blowing on a light fixture, about one every two weeks. Many times when I went to change it, it broke off at the base. What's going on?

A couple possibilities:
1. you are installing bulbs that are a higher wattage than is recommended for use in the fixture. They heat up, and the glue separates at the base. Check the wattage limits (usually on a sticker near the socket).
2. you are installing a low quality bulb. Try a more expensive name brand one.
3. The fixture is exposed to excessive movement and/or vibration, which can cause premature failure.

We just bought a new home and we're changing the outdoor lights to CFL. The wall light by the main entrance didn't light on the CFL bulb that we put in, but other light bulbs work. We tested that CFL bulb on other wall lights and it works. What do you think are the possible causes?

That's an interesting one! A couple of things come to mind:

1. Perhaps the center tab of the light sockets have been pushed down to the point where they are only making intermittent contact with the bottom contact of the bulb. Try taking a small screwdriver and prying up (only slightly) on the center tabs in the sockets. Make sure that the power is OFF before you do this, or you may get a shock!

2. Is there a dimmer switch for this light? Many CFL bulbs will not work on a dimmer, even if the dimmer is turned all the way up to full brightness.

Wurtsboro Electric Service, Inc.

Licensed electricians serving Orange county, Sullivan county, and Ulster county in New York
(845) 888-8000 

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