Light Fixture Restoration – is it time for a checkup?
Electrical Tip of the Day: Like everything else, light fixtures need maintenance too. Failure to maintain old fixtures can, and does, cause fires; as well as representing a high risk of electrical shock to the homeowner. Many of the products used to make old (vintage) fixtures are long past the point of safety and need to be replaced, especially ones with cloth insulated wire and cardboard insulated lamp sockets. That said many of these vintage fixtures simply cannot be replaced and have a charm that is hard to live without.
So what do you do? One good option is to restore them. Restoration can give you the option of keeping the old fixtures but updating them with modern products to keep you and your family safe.
The warning signs… do your fixtures need some restoration attention? Look for frayed, cracked, or peeling exposed wire, burnt or charred lamp sockets, fixtures that hum or flicker, and fixtures that seem to burn out a lot of lamps. Any fixture that is older then 30 years should be looked at.
So what does a full restoration cover? Typically we would remove the fixture, replace all the old wire, install new solid porcelain lamp sockets, give it a good cleaning (being careful not to destroy the patina), check / re-wire the junction box where it was installed for problems, then re-install.
Here are some examples of a restoration project we have underway now (note the old socket being replaced as it was actually starting to arc and burn at the bottom – this is a pretty common condition that occurs after years of use, high wattage lamps, and the lamps being over tightened to “make them work”).