How to Replace a Three-Way Lamp Socket

Flickering light or failure to illuminate properly are telltale warnings that a lamp socket is beginning to fail.
If your three-way socket is exhibiting this behavior, it's time to replace it. Fortunately, the replacement part you'll need is quite inexpensive, and can be purchased at most hardware stores and home improvement retailers. The work itself will only take a few minutes to complete, and you will only need one very basic tool.

Step 1

Unplug the lamp.

Step 2

Remove the harp finial, shade harp, lampshade and light bulb. Put them aside for reinstallation when your repairs are completed. The lamp socket should now be clearly visible and accessable.

Step 3

Squeeze the socket shroud where the word "Press" is stamped into the metal surface. Wiggle it loose from the crimping in the socket base and slide it up over the socket interior. Set it aside with the other lamp parts you previously removed.

Step 4

Loosen the two contact screws on the socket interior and remove the lamp wires. Once the socket interior is free, discard it.

Step 5

Loosen the contact screws on the replacement socket interior. Wrap the end of the black lamp wire around the shank of the brass screw and tighten the screw back down. Then, wrap the end of the white lamp wire around the shank of the white metal screw and tighten it back down.

Step 6

Retrieve the socket shroud. Squeeze it where the word "Press" is stamped into the metal. Slide it down over the new socket interior, and wiggle it back into the crimping in the socket base. You will feel it snap into place when it is properly secured.

Step 7

Reinstall the light bulb, shade harp, lampshade and harp finial.

Step 8

Plug in the lamp. Turn the new switch through all three settings to ensure it is working properly.

Things You Will Need

  • Replacement three-way socket interior
  • Slotted screwdriver

About the Author

Rich Finzer earned his boating license in 1960 and started his writing career in 1969. His writing has appeared in "Northern Breezes," "Southwinds," "Living Aboard," "Good Old Boat," "Latitudes & Attitudes," "Small Craft Advisor," "Life in the Finger Lakes," "BackHome" and "Dollar Stretcher" magazines. His maple syrup has won awards in competition. Rich has a Bachelor of Science in communications from Ithaca College.