Problem: The bulb flickers or
will not work in a lamp, even though other lamps work
using the same receptacle.
Background: Lamp sockets, especially those with
switches, are liable to failure, and can be replaced
relatively easily. Replacements are available for major
types, which include those with twist knobs, push knobs,
and pull chains. Often re placements come in
blister-packs, with instructions on the back. The parts of
a lamp socket include the outer shell with insulating
sleeve in side; the socket, which has 2 terminals; and the
cap which also has an insulated liner. The outer shell,
which holds the socket, clips into the cap by pressure.
What to do: Use proper electrical safety
procedures, and make sure lamp is unplugged from
receptacle. To replace a socket, first remove the shade
and harp (the metal part that holds the shade). Squeeze
the outer shell to remove from the cap; it should be
marked “press” in an area near its base. Note the position
of the wires, then remove wires from screw terminals.
(With a newer lamp cord, 1 of the 2 wires may have ridged
insulation covering; this wire goes under the silver screw
while the other goes under the brass screw.) Fit the new
socket inside the outer shell with its insulating sleeve,
and lock the unit back into the cap.
Special advice: Before replacing the socket, first
look for the other possible problems. Try plugging the
lamp into another outlet, and also try a new bulb. If it
doesn’t work, check the plug and the cord carefully to see
that they are in good shape. If they appear to be
functional, unplug the lamp and remove the bulb. Scrape
the contact with a screwdriver, and pry it up if it
appears to be flattened. Insert bulb and try it again. If
it still doesn’t work, replace the socket.
Helpful hint: If you
see that the cord is frayed or damaged, be sure to re pair
(or preferably replace) it be cause dangerous shocks may
result, especially if you handle the lamp while standing
on a wet floor. (See
Plug or Cord Defective for general advice on replacing cords.)