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Question DetailsAsked on 9/17/2013

some lights not working in my house

one light in basement goes off after approximately 20 minutes, comes back on after 15 minutes. four lights toward the back of my house do not work.

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3 Answers


This could be a bad ciruit breaker or a short in that circuit. This should be corrected a.s.a.p. It could cause a fire.

Answered 6 years ago by tomzoschak


It could be a bad circuit breaker but I am wondering because it sounds like two problems. If it were just the breaker the other lights would be doing the same thing. It sounds like either a dead short on those has caused the breaker to cycle on and off, which it is not supposed to do. What type of light is cycling on and off? If it is a fluorescent it could have a bad ballast and a bad connection (loose wire) to the other lights could be causing that problem.

Either way you need to get an electrician out there ASAP and stop using that light! There is a good chance of a fire and especially since it is in the basement the chance for loss of life is major. Being in the basement if you left that light on and forgot to shut it off when it was in the off cycle you could be in bed and since it is in the basement it could block your exit or trap you in the basement if you were there.


Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


Could be a lot of things. Assuming these are all on the same circuit, I had a problem like this when I moved into my current house - a splice inside a wire nut was not fully twisted, so the wires were only touching at the tips - which was not capable of carrying the full current safely so it overheated, causing the wires to move a bit and break contact, making the circuit from that point on go dead - when it cooled, it worked again.

A couple of other possibilities include:

1) VERY REMOTELY possible breaker problem, possibly one not snapped in properly or with loose wiring connections causing a similar problem,

2) if light that goes out is fluorescent and is surface mounted to the ceiling but is not rated for that, its built-in overheat circuit breaker may be tripping out and then cutting back in after it cools off - the 15-20 minute cycle is about right for that. This is pretty common for the 4 foot two-tube "shop lights" and with the "trougher" lights commonly used in suspended ceilings and kitchen dropped ceilings - they are rated assuming free airflow to the backs (top side) of the units and overheat if flush-mounted to a ceiling.

3) faulty light switch

4) faulty wiring somewhere along the way

Either way, you need an electrician - Search the List for a local one with good ratings and reviews.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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