I Pulled the Chain Out of My Ceiling Light & It Malfunctioned – How to Fix?

Pull chains help turn the ceiling light fixtures on and off with 1 or 2 pulls. But if they are improperly used or overused, they can stop working.

My ceiling light fixture pull chain broke down last week all of a sudden. I pulled the chain out of my ceiling light, and it didn’t work. So, I troubleshoot the whole system to find out the problem and found that the chain broke since I pulled too hard. I replaced the damaged one with a new pull chain, which is working great.

I shared the troubleshooting and replacement process in this comprehensive guide for better understanding. Here you will also find the troubleshooting of pull chain ceiling lights turning on or off and broken or damaged pull chains. Keep on reading.

How to Troubleshoot Ceiling Light Pulled Chain Problem?

As per our analysis, a pull chain ceiling light can show 3 major issues mainly-

Follow the below points to troubleshoot the pull chain.

  • Check the lightbulb for a loose connection in the socket. Also, a burn-out socket can cause the light not to turn on or off, as the same was faced by a user from Do It Yourself Forum In this case, the bulb requires tightening or replacement if required.
  • Consider checking the socket tab available in the middle of the socket. The bulb will not come into contact with it if it is flattened. Pull it up so that the bulb connects to the socket tab. Remember to shut the circuit off before doing so.
  • Shut the wire connection off. Then, check the connection between the wire and the switch. The switch needs to be removed from the circuit, and an ohm meter or continuity tester must be used to test between the cables.
  • Check for loose or burnt wires to the ceiling light fixture. Replace the wire if needed.
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How to Fix a Stuck Pull Chain for a Ceiling Light?

Are you considering calling a professional electrician to fix the problem? Step away from the phone, and you will not regret it. You can change the stuck pull chain for a ceiling fan within 20 minutes. All you need to do is follow the below steps carefully.

Required Items:

  • Screwdriver
  • Ohm meter or voltage tester
  • New pull chain and light fixture

Step 01: Turn the Power Off

Electrical work is dangerous, especially when you don’t take precautions. So, before beginning the process, turn the power off. Wear electricity-resistant gloves.

Step 02: Fixtures, Covers, Lightbulb, and Other Accessories Removal

The lightbulb needs to be removed from the electrical box. Next, grab a screwdriver to unfasten the covers and other accessories from the box. Keep the accessories aside in a safe place. Also, take all the parts one by one. It will protect the delicate chain from damage.

Step 03: Unhooking the Wire

This is a critical step. Take notes on a piece of paper and a snap of the wire connection first. Then, unhook the wiring.

A snapshot will be beneficial when rehooking the wire. Also, it will help you avoid incorrect wiring. Improper rehooking of the wire is dangerous, and you mustn’t avoid taking snaps.

Step 04: Old Switch and Chain Replacing

Unpack the new pull chain and switch. Pull the old chain out and remove the malfunctioned switch. Then, fasten the thread and switch in the new pull chain.

After screwing them into place, give a little tug to the pull chain. Thus, the whole system will work properly. While pulling the chain, a clicking sound will be generated.

The same chain broke issue happened with a user from Houzz Discussion,

“I pulled the chain to turn off my closet light this morning, and the string came right off! It appears to be torn right to the fixture.”


and everyone agreed on the new fixture chain installation.

Step 05: Wires Reconnecting

Once the switch and pull chain are replaced, it is significantly crucial to connect the wires correctly. If you fail to do so, you will experience an overheated ceiling light fixture. In the worst-case scenario, someone may get an electrical shock when changing the lightbulb next time.

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So, how to get rid of this danger?

Open the snap you captured on how the cables were connected. As a result, reconnecting the wires will be straightforward. Remember to attach black to black and ground to ground.

Clockwise wrapping of the wires will cover 2/3 portion of terminal screws. Also, fasten the screws gently.

Step 06: Reinstall the Fixtures, Covers, Lightbulb, and Other Accessories in Place

Grab a screwdriver and reinstall the fixtures, covers, lightbulb, and other accessories in place.

Spiral the wires by twisting the fixture. Next, fasten the fixture to the end cap. Avoid over-tightening the screws. The end cap is made of plastic, and overtightening can break them.

Step 07: Lightbulb Reinserting

It is an extremely easy part. Enlighten your room by reinserting the lightbulb.

Step 08: Turn the Power On

Turn the power on at the circuit breaker.

Step 09: Check the Performance

Pull the chain to test it. The light will turn on if you have done everything perfectly. In case of any issues, recheck the whole wiring connection and the bulb fixture.

Do I Have to Lubricate the Pull Chain Periodically for Correct Functionality?

You can lubricate the pull chain if the switch inside the socket doesn’t show any problem. Lubricating the pull chain will help you solve the stuck problem.

Here is how to lubricate the pull chain.

Step 01: Buy a non-conductive lubricant spray.

Step 02: Check the stuck area visually. Spray the lubricant in that area directly.

Step 03: Now, firmly pull the chain to turn the light on or off. Are you still experiencing issues with the pull chain? In such a situation, replacing the switch and pull chain is mandatory.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the replacement cost of a broken or damaged pull chain?

Hiring a professional to replace a broken or damaged pull chain is sometimes necessary. So, if you don’t feel confident enough, call a professional.
If an electrician replaces the pull chain,
*The cost will be $85 – $100 for parts and labor
If you replace the pull chain,
*The cost will be $2 – $20 for parts

What to consider when selecting a new pull chain?

Consider the below factors before choosing a new pull chain.
Pull Chain Length: Measure the old pull chain before heading to a hardware store. Buy the one that meets your requirement.
Pull Chain Material: Although a pull chain is an inexpensive option. But make sure to buy one that is easy to maintain. So, stainless steel or similar material-constructed pull chains are the best options.
Pull Chain Color: Pull chain ceiling lights are mounted in the center of a room, office, loft space, basement, etc. Consider buying the pull chain that matches your room’s decor and light features.

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What happens if the chain comes off in my hand?

When the pull chain comes off in your hand, you may wonder whether it can be back on.
The truth is, you can’t install the broken pull chain back in place. Replacing is the best solution.

Final Words

A broken or damaged or pull chain ceiling light that turns on or off is a pesky problem.

Hopefully, you can solve if you pulled the chain out of your ceiling light. At the same time, if the pull chain is broken or damaged, this comprehensive guide will also help you fix the problem.

Luckily, the replacement parts are inexpensive, and you can change the pull chain by following the steps mentioned above. Enlighten your cupboard, attic, and room, and enjoy a bright area.

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