How to Fix My Outdoor Lights

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If your outdoor light suddenly stops working, the problem may simply be that the fixture needs replacing.
If your outdoor light suddenly stops working, the problem may simply be that the fixture needs replacing. (Image: David Sacks/Lifesize/Getty Images)

If your outdoor lights have stopped working, it may be more than a simple case of a worn-out bulb. Your lights may have a wire connection problem, or the socket may have corroded over time. Any of these issues will require you to change the fixture of your outdoor lights, and you can save money by troubleshooting on your own.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder
  • Screwdriver
  • New fixture

Turn off the power supply at the circuit breaker that delivers power to your porch or other outdoor lights. Use a ladder if necessary to reach the light to check it. Ask a family member or friend to help you by holding the ladder steady and by intercepting old supplies with new.

Use a screwdriver to loosen the screws holding your light fixture in place. Hold the fixture with one hand while working with the other to ensure that you don't drop and break it. Remove the pilot screw from the base if there is one. If there is one, this will be necessary to exposing the electrical wire, but it depends on the type of fixture you have.

Affix the new fixture in place of the old one. Take your time as you work to ensure that everything is in proper place and is installed tightly enough so that it works. Align the new fixture with the existing screw holes and use the screwdriver to tighten them. Make sure the person helping you is holding tightly to the ladder if you have to lean or reach even more to do this.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most light fixtures will not require you to remove the wiring. But if your fixture is in the minority, you may have to. If you have to attach any wiring, match white wires with white and black with black.
  • If the problem with your outdoor light is not a wiring connection issue but the wiring has ceased to function altogether, call a professional electrician. Most likely, your wiring is old and will have to be replaced, which can only be done by a professional.

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