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Electrical Wire and Cable

How to Replace a Light Socket for a Light Fixture

How can I repair a broken light socket? Replacing a Socket in a Light Fixture, A Step by Step Process for Replacing a Light Socket.

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Light Fixture Socket Replacement
[ad#block]Electrical Question: How can I repair a broken light socket?

This electrical wiring question came from: Dale, from Athens, Alabama.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Dale.

Replacing a Light Fixture Socket

Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a fiberglass or non-aluminum step ladder and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the access to the light fixtures.
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the light socket wiring.
Notice: Changing or modifying the original fixture design may void the UL approval and affect the warranty of the light fixture. Changes in light bulb type must not produce more heat which could damage light fixture components or the area of the light fixture installation. The replacement light socket should be the exact matching light socket with the same specifications.

How Replace a Light Socket

Some light fixtures create high levels of heat from the light bulbs which may cause the socket material to break down over time, which could lead to a broken socket when the light bulb needs to be replaced.

Step by Step Procedure for Replacing a Light Socket

    • It is important to positively identify and turn OFF the circuit which provides power to the light fixture before proceeding with any work on the electrical components. It is best to place a notice that work is being performed on the circuit so the circuit is not turned back ON until all work is completed.
    • The light fixture components must be carefully removed to allow access to the area of the light socket mounting assembly and electrical wiring.
    • Most light fixture lamp sockets may be replaced if the correct replacement socket can be found. Most hardware stores or light fixture outlet stores carry a wide range of replacement light sockets.
    • The replacement socket must be the same as the original having the same voltage and watt allowance and mounting method. Some light sockets have one or two screws placed through the base of the socket which are used to attach it to a mounting bracket.
    • Once the correct replacement socket has been purchased the socket should be installed in exactly the same position as the original light socket.
    • The wiring of a 120 volt light fixture typically has two wires that are Black for the Power and White for the Neutral.
      • The Black wire sends power to the tip or end of the base of light bulb and the connection occurs at the very bottom center portion of the light socket.
      • The White wire is the path back to the circuit and makes contact with the side of the light bulb base which has the threads on the base of the light bulb and the threaded sides of the light socket.
    • These wires should be attached or connected correctly. If wire splice connectors are used then they must be rated to withstand the amount of heat that will be produced inside the light fixture assembly.
    • Once all the work is completed the parts and components of the light fixture must be carefully replaced and the specified light bulbs should be replaced.
    • When the reassembly is completed the the light fixture circuit may be turned back ON and the light fixture may be turned on for testing.
    • If for some reason the light fixture is not functioning correctly then the process should be repeated from the beginning and close attention should be given to all of the assembly components and wiring connections.
    • Every light fixture has a limit to the size of the light bulb. Make sure to use light bulbs that are not larger than allowed by the light fixture.
    • The allowed light bulb type and watts should be indicated on a label inside the light fixture housing or shown on the outside of the light socket.

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NOTE: A List of All my Helpful Videos
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So Keep Watching So I Can Help You Wire it Right!
Check out my YouTube Channel, and Subscribe!

See All My Videos Here!

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my online Video Course:
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The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “How to Replace a Light Socket for a Light Fixture”
  1. Calvin Lim says:


    I’m planning to change all my kitchen recessed lighting from Triple Tube 4-Pin Light Bulb to LED Retrofit Kit 120W 5/6-Inch. I will be taking out the 4 wires (2 blue/2 red) including the ballast and replacing with 2 wires (black/white). My question is can I use 18 AWG 600v wire (2 feet of wire) for each recessed light to connect from the LED plug to junction box on the recessed light housing? I’ve noticed most wires used for the light sockets are 18 AWG in the Halo recessed light housings.


  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Calvin,
    The 18 gauge wire that is prewired to the new LED Retrofit Kit is safe as the connection to your circuit wiring even though the wire size may be smaller. With most light fixtures you will find that the size of the lead wires are typically adjusted for the electrical requirements of the light fixture.