Testing a Light Socket

1-2 hours

Check the light socket to determine if a repair is needed before buying a new appliance

Testing a Light Socket

It’s light's out, and you've already determined that a burned-out bulb isn't the culprit. And just to be thorough, you've also checked the main service panel for a tripped breaker or a blown fuse. What do you do next? Well, first you need to find out if power is actually getting to the light socket. Assuming it is, your next step is to verify that the light socket itself is at fault. Here's how to do both. 

This project guide shows how to do both by highlighting the steps for checking to see if power is getting to the socket and that it is in good working order.

WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS PROJECT

1
Remove mounting screws to test for current
Remove mounting screws test current - Testing Light Socket

Remove the mounting screws, and carefully lower the socket. To test for current, touch one probe of the circuit tester to the hot screw terminal that's attached to a black wire. Touch the other probe to the ground screw, the bare copper wire, or the metal electrical box. Repeat this test with each of the other screw terminals. If the tester doesn't glow in any position, there's no power coming to the box.

2
Turn off power to the light at the breaker panel box and remove the socket
Turn off power light breaker panel - Testing Light Socket

• Turn the power off to the socket.
• Test the socket by attaching the clip of the continuity tester to the hot screw terminal, the black wire lead. Then, touch the probe to the metal tab in the bottom of the socket.
• The tester should glow. If it doesn’t, the socket is faulty and needs to be replaced.

3
Continue testing the socket
Continue testing the socket - Testing Light Socket

• Continue testing the socket by attaching the clip of the continuity tester to the neutral metal screw terminal, the white wire lead. Then, touch the probe to the threaded portion of the socket.
• Again, the tester should glow. If it doesn’t, the socket is faulty and needs to be replaced.