How to Fix Light Fixtures That Are Hanging Loose

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Keeping light fixtures tight is a good safety precaution.
Keeping light fixtures tight is a good safety precaution. (Image: yellow fluo lamp image by rmarinello from Fotolia.com)

When a light fixture is hanging loose, it's not only an eye-sore, but it can actually be a safety hazard. If it becomes loose enough to fall, someone could get hit by the fixture or the wires could pull apart and shock or even electrocute someone. Knowing how to repair loose light fixtures will help keep your home safe and allow the fixture to look as great as it's supposed to.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdrivers
  • Voltage tester
  • Madison bars
  • Washers

When the Fixture Box is Loose

Turn off the power to the loose fixture at the circuit breaker.

Remove the fixture's cover and bulbs. Use a touch-type voltage tester to check the socket for power.

Loosen the fixture from the mounting bar bolts and pull the fixture off.

Disconnect the fixture's wires from the ceiling box wires and set the fixture down.

Insert the Madison bars along the outer sides of the ceiling box with the two long tabs sticking down. The bar's ends will rest above the ceiling.

Push the box up until it's level with the ceiling, then bend the long tabs into the box. Be careful you don't bend the tabs over any wires. The tabs should flat against the inner sides of the box. Do this on both sides of the box.

Re-install the light fixture and it should no longer be hanging.

When the Mounting Bolts are Too Long

Perform steps 1 through 4 as directed above.

Remove the mounting bracket, then remove the mounting bolts from the bracket.

Slide as many washers as necessary over the bolts and re-install them on the bracket. Try one at first, then hold it up against the fixture to see if you need more washers between the bolt head and the bracket.

Re-install the mounting bracket once you have the correct number of washers in place, then re-install the light fixture.

Turn the breaker back on and your fixture should be safe and no longer hanging.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't have any washers, you can use a properly sized nut. You just need to raise the bolt above the inside of the bracket so it's not as long.
  • Never work on a light fixture while the circuit is still powered. Always turn the circuit off at the breaker.

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