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

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: February 10, 2021

Right away, you know something’s wrong. You look up from that puddle in the middle of the room and see water dripping from the light fixture. Can this scenario get any worse?

Yes, it can.

When a ceiling light fixture gets wet, it creates a dangerous situation that needs to be taken care of right away. It’s not a problem you want to tackle with your DIY talents.

Here are specific things you should to do ensure the safety of your home and family.

What to Do if Your Light Fixture is Leaking: 7 Critical Steps

leaking water from light

You want to find the source of the leak, fix it and get things cleaned up. However, water dripping through a light fixture can be very dangerous. Get the job off to a safe start by carefully following these seven steps.

1. Sound the Alarm

Let everyone in the house know that the situation is serious. Tell them to stay away from all sources of electricity until you’re certain everything is safe. Close all access to the affected room.

2. Turn Off the Water and Electricity

Know where your utility mains are and turn off electricity and water coming into your home. Minimize the chance of an electrical fire by shutting down the flow of both power and water as quickly as possible.

3. Call Licensed Professionals

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

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

4. Make Sure Everything Is Safe

Using a non-contact voltage tester, make sure the electricity is turned off by testing outlets, switches and fixtures throughout the house. Don’t touch any electrical sources that show signs of dampness. Point out these additional problem areas to your electrician and restoration team.

5. 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.

6. Try to Identify the Source

If the water leak is coming through the ceiling from a second floor, try to pinpoint the upstairs source. You might be able to temporarily fix the problem. Take a look at the ceiling above the second floor too. Water may be dripping all the way down from the attic.

7. Consider Draining the Ceiling

If water-soaked areas around the light fixture begin to sag or bulge, you may need to drain the ceiling. Don’t try this unless you’re certain the electricity is turned off and you’re confidant in your DIY skills. Be prepared for additional water cleanup during and after the work.

Ceiling Leak FAQs

ceiling leak in chicago home

When our restoration technicians take care of ceiling leaks that affect light fixtures, most property owners share the same concerns. These are the questions we’re asked most often about this hazardous situation.

What Causes Water to Leak from a Light Fixture?

Many things can cause water to leak through a ceiling and into a light fixture.

However, these are the most common problems we see in the field:

Your home’s roof and gutter system are designed to control and direct water away from the house. Kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms can handle moderate levels of water through fixture and floor drains.

Ceilings don’t have these types of built-in protection. When water accumulates overhead, the drywall around a light fixture’s fitting becomes the weakest point in the ceiling. This results in water dripping through the fixture.

How Dangerous Is Water Dripping From a Light Bulb?

Water conducts electricity, so it becomes very dangerous as it passes through a light fixture. Touching a wet component can cause electrical shock and result in serious injury or death.

Can Water Leaking Through a Light Fixture Cause a Fire?

Yes. When electrical wires and connections are exposed to moisture, they can corrode, short-circuit and throw sparks. The reaction can quickly start a property fire.

Is a Ceiling Leak Covered by Insurance?

Most ceiling leaks are covered by homeowners insurance. Your restoration contractor can help you sort through policy details and assist in navigating the water damage claims process.

How Long Does It Take for a Light Fitting to Dry Out?

A light fixture’s housing, canopy and tubing are made of non-porous materials. When the light fitting gets wet, the components usually dry quickly. However, damp ceiling materials that surround and hold the fixture in place can take several days or even weeks to completely dry.

It’s important to take care of the water-damaged ceiling as soon as possible. This stabilizes the area and ensures safe working conditions for light fixture repairs or replacements.

Dealing with Ceiling Water Damage in Chicago? We Can Help

We admire the handywoman and handyman skills we see in our customers every day. However, we believe it’s very important 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 we can connect you with a trusted network of licensed plumbers and electricians too.

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.