Water Is Leaking Through My Light Fixture! What Should I Do?

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: April 15, 2024

Can you see water leaking through your light fixture? 

If so, you have to act quickly to correct the problem.

Fortunately, we’re here to help.

At ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba, we have more than 85 years of combined experience helping Chicago-area customers resolve water damage issues. We’ve compiled our expertise into this complete guide. 

How To Keep Yourself Safe

When water leaks through a light fixture, it poses serious hazards, including the risk of electric shock, fire, and ceiling collapse. 

Here are a few tips to keep yourself safe:

  • Turn Off Electricity: Immediately shut off the electricity at the breaker box to eliminate the risk of electrical shock. Avoid touching the light switch or any electrical appliance until this is done.
  • Spread the Word: Let everyone in the house know that the situation is serious. Tell them to stay away from all sources of electricity until you’re confident everything is safe. Close all access to the affected room.
  • Shut Off Water Supply: Identify and turn off the water source contributing to the leak if possible. This could be the main water valve for your home to prevent further water damage.
  • Keep Clear: Avoid the affected area, especially directly under the leaking fixture. Water accumulation increases the risk of ceiling material collapse, posing a physical danger.
  • Avoid Direct Contact: Do not attempt to touch or repair the leaking light fixture yourself. Water and electricity create a hazardous combination that should only be handled by professionals.
  • Call for Help: Contact a licensed electrician and plumber immediately. Electricians can safely address any electrical hazards, while plumbers can fix the source of the leak.
  • Take Preventive Measures: After repairs, consider inspecting your home for any other potential water damage to wiring or electrical installations to prevent future incidents.

What to Do if Your Light Fixture Is Leaking: 10 Critical Steps

leaking water from light

1. Call A Plumber

Water leaking through a light fixture is a sign of a potentially severe and hazardous issue in your home that requires immediate attention from a professional. 

This situation indicates a plumbing problem that could lead to significant water damage to your property and pose a considerable risk of electrical fires or electrocution due to water’s interaction with electrical systems. 

A licensed plumber has the expertise to accurately diagnose the source of the leak and make the necessary repairs to prevent further damage. 

Delays in addressing this issue can exacerbate the problem, leading to more extensive and costly repairs. Calling a plumber promptly is essential for the safety and preservation of your home.

2. Contact A Restoration Company

Call a water damage restoration company like ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba in Chicago that handles leaks and burst pipe repair. We can give you a solid referral if you don’t already have an electrician.

Don’t turn the power or water back on until you’re given the all-clear.

3. Notify Important People

If you live in an apartment, condo, or townhouse, notifying the building manager and neighbors if water is leaking through a light fixture is important for several reasons. 

Firstly, water infiltration into electrical systems poses a significant safety hazard, potentially leading to electrical shorts and fires. Early intervention can prevent accidents and safeguard residents. 

Secondly, addressing the leak promptly can mitigate the extent of water damage to the building’s structure and individual apartments, potentially saving significant repair costs and inconvenience. 

Finally, informing neighbors helps foster a community-oriented environment where residents look out for each other’s safety and well-being. Communication in such scenarios is critical to ensuring a swift resolution and maintaining a safe living environment for everyone involved.

If the water leak is affecting your own home and you don’t have a building manager or neighbors, let everyone else in your family know what’s going on and take steps to get everyone out of the area. 

4. Remove Valuables

Next, remove valuables from the area to avoid water damage and protect your belongings. Beyond the immediate threat to belongings, prolonged exposure to moisture can promote the growth of mold, which can further damage property.

With this in mind, carefully relocate your belongings to a dry, unaffected part of your home.

5. Document The Damage

light fixture is leaking

Documenting the damage caused by water leaking through a light fixture is crucial for insurance claims and repair work. Initially, ensure it is safe to enter the area; water and electricity can create hazardous conditions. 

Once it’s safe, start by turning off the power to the affected area to prevent further risk. 

Photograph or video the extent of the water damage and the source of the leak, if visible, including any visible damage to the light fixture, surrounding walls, ceilings, and any personal property affected. 

Take detailed notes on the date and time of the discovery, the steps taken immediately afterward, and any conversations with repair professionals. 

Keeping a comprehensive record of the damage and response efforts will be indispensable for insurance purposes and future prevention strategies.

6. Contact Your Insurance Company

Next, contact your insurance company to start the claim process. 

This is important because many insurance policies require timely reporting of incidents to make a valid claim, meaning delays could result in coverage denial. 

Most ceiling leaks are covered by homeowners insurance. Your restoration contractor can help you understand policy details and navigate the water damage claims process.

Communicating early with your insurance provider facilitates the repair process and will help your claim be as streamlined as possible. 

7. Start Cleaning Up

Set up buckets to catch any water still dripping from the ceiling. Soak up standing water by covering the floor with layers of newspaper or old towels. Finish cleanup by mopping hard floors, but leave water-damaged carpets and padding to the restoration crew.

8. Ventilate The Area

Ventilating an area after water has leaked through a light fixture is crucial to prevent mold growth and protect your indoor air quality. Firstly, ensure the electrical supply to the affected area is turned off to avoid electrical hazards. 

Open windows and doors to increase airflow, promoting faster drying of the wet surfaces. If available, use fans to circulate air and dehumidifiers to reduce moisture levels in the room. It’s also wise to remove any soaked items, such as rugs or furniture, to an airy space for drying. 

Additionally, inspect the light fixture and surrounding areas for damage and consider seeking professional help to ensure the leak does not recur. Always prioritize safety by confirming the electrical system’s integrity before turning the power back on.

9. Start The Water Damage Restoration Process

water damaged ceiling

Hiring a professional water damage restoration company is crucial after water leaks through a light fixture. When you contact a team like ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba, we’ll help ensure the safety and integrity of your home or property. 

Water leakage poses immediate electrical hazards and, if not promptly and adequately addressed, can lead to long-term structural damage and mold growth. 

Professional restoration services have the expertise, experience, and equipment to thoroughly assess the damage, conduct a comprehensive cleanup, and implement repairs that adhere to safety standards. 

This not only helps prevent further damage but also safeguards the health of the occupants by mitigating the risk of mold and electrical hazards that could arise from DIY restoration attempts.

10. Final Inspection

Finally, you’ll need to do a walk-through with your restoration company to ensure everything is repaired and up to code before restoring power. 

Water and electricity can create a hazardous situation, so after remediation, have the experts carefully check all affected electrical components and wiring. This not only ensures the safety of those inhabiting the space but also prevents potential future issues. 

Crafting a checklist that includes checking for any signs of lingering moisture, damage to light fixtures, and proper functioning of electrical outlets can help you make sure you’re not missing anything.

What Causes Water To Leak From A Light Fixture?

Water leaking from a ceiling light fixture can be puzzling, but it’s rarely due to water seeping through electrical systems. Most leaks are caused by plumbing issues or other common sources, not directly related to the electrical wiring or panels. Here are the main reasons why water might leak from a light fixture:

  • Plumbing problems, including issues with waste, drain, or water supply lines. Tip: Regularly inspect and maintain plumbing systems to detect early signs of wear or damage.
  • Roof leaks, mainly if there’s an attic above the ceiling. Tip: Conduct biannual roof inspections and maintenance to ensure there are no missing shingles or potential leak points.
  • HVAC issues, such as blocked condensation lines or leaks in catch pans. Tip: Schedule annual HVAC inspections and clean condensation lines regularly to prevent blockages.
  • Water travels from the leak source to the light fixture through gaps in drywall, especially in homes with slight tilts that facilitate water movement across the attic. Tip: To prevent water leaks, seal gaps in drywall and ensure proper attic ventilation and insulation.

Dealing With Ceiling Water Damage In Chicago? We Can Help

emergency water damage restoration

We admire the handywoman and handyman skills we see in our customers daily. However, we believe it’s essential to understand a job before you tackle it with your DIY talents.

If you ever have second thoughts about a project, we’re always happy to help.

We handle all types of ceiling water leak repair in and around Chicago and can connect you with a trusted network of licensed plumbers and electricians.

Give us a call for emergency help: 773-647-1985

Why is my ceiling light fixture leaking?

Leaks in overhead pipes soak into insulation or pool on top of the ceiling’s drywall. The water eventually collects and begins to drip through the fixture’s electrical box.

What happens when water leaks through a light fixture?

Water leaking through a light fixture can cause the light to short out. However, a light might continue to work. Never turn a leaking fixture off at the light switch. Stay safe, and shut off the circuit breaker.

How does a leaking light fixture start an electrical fire?

Water leaking around a light fixture is full of minerals. This makes it an excellent conductor of electricity. When the water bridges negative and positive wires in the fixture, it creates an arc that can start an electrical fire.

How long does it take for a light fitting to dry out?

The time it takes for a light fitting to dry out can vary depending on several factors, including the ambient temperature, humidity, and the specific materials involved. Generally, we recommend allowing at least 24 to 48 hours for a light fitting to dry out after water exposure. In environments with higher humidity, additional time may be required. It’s crucial to ensure the fitting is completely dry before attempting to reinstall or use it to prevent any risk of electrical hazards.