How to Troubleshoot a Bathroom Vanity Light

Lighting problems can be more than annoying, they can be dangerous.
If you have a problem with your bathroom vanity light not working properly, you can troubleshoot some issues yourself. Since the bathroom is constantly full of moisture, it's really important to fix any lighting problems right away to prevent a possible short or fire. Always go to your breaker box first to make sure the breaker didn't trip. If you see a breaker in the middle position and not to the left or right, then simply turn it off and then on. It is now reset.

Step 1

You may have a bar-light type fixture for your vanity light. Inspect to see if any bulbs are burned out or loose. Even if a bulb appears out, it may just need to be screwed in to make it work. You can shake bulbs that are not working to determine whether or not you can see or hear a loose filiment. If so, just replace the bulb. Make sure not to exceed the manufacturer’s maximum bulb wattage or you may cause a fire. This bulb rating is usually stated on a small foil sticker located inside each bulb socket. If this doesn't solve your problem, move on to the next step.

Step 2

Use your electrical tester for light sockets and check each socket to see if they are getting power. Usually, you attach one end to the center of the socket node and the other end can touch the metal side. Read the tester instructions for exact directions. If the light sockets are not getting power, move on to the next step. If the light sockets are getting power, move on to the next step or you might need to replace the light fixture.

Step 3

Use your electrical tester with audio beep and check power at the switch. Remove the switch cover with the screwdriver and remove the switch itself as well. Hold your tester to each of the two terminals and make sure you are getting power. If the wires are hot, but the switch is not working, then replace it. Just color match the wires to the new switch and hook it up. If this doesn't solve your problem, go to the next step.

Step 4

Remove the light cover by using your screwdriver. Carefully pull the electrical wires out of the back of the base. Use your audio tester to see if it beeps, meaning power is present. If so, check for loose connections. Replace the wire nuts if needed. If this doesn't get your light going, you may need a professional electrician.

Things You Will Need

  • Electrical tester for light sockets
  • Electrical tester with audio beep
  • Screwdrivers
  • Light bulbs
  • Wire nuts
  • Light switch
  • Light fixture

Tip

  • If you still have no lights after following the above steps, you probably have a short in your wiring somewhere. You will need to get an electrician to help you. The electrician can find shorts behind the walls with his specialized tools.

About the Author

Joey Pellham has three years experience teaching writing courses in China. He specializes in home improvement/do it yourself and parenting articles. He has written for publications such as Associated Content, Triond, Wordpress, and Blog Spot. Pellham has been freelance writing since 2008. Pellham studied at Washington State University.