Light kit not working

Has the light kit stopped working on your Harbor Breeze fan – or other? These steps below not only apply to Harbor Breeze, but to other brands of ceiling fans as well. If the light kit has stopped working, but the rest of the fan still works, here’s a step by step of the things to check on your fan.

Check if the light bulbs need replacing

This is pretty straight forward but still a valid first step, to see if it’s simply a bulb issue. If so, great!

Check if the light kit has any loose wires connecting the light kit inside of the fan’s housing

This is a bit more involved then checking bulbs, that’s for sure. To make this happen, you’ll need to pull down the fan from its mounting. There is a method of checking this without having to completely pull the fan down from the ceiling. For more details on this, read our article on how to look inside of the fan without removing the fan from the ceiling.

With that being said, if you do not have any electrical expertise, it might be a good idea to call an electrician to check this. Make sure that the circuit breaker to the fan is switched off before you perform any electrical steps, as a safety precaution.

Check and Replace any Light Bulbs that are burnt out

When checking the light bulbs, look inside at the filament. Use the below picture as an aid to help you. If the filament inside of the light bulb if broken, then the bulbs need to be replaced. Another method is to slowly shake the bulb. Do this very slowly and lightly. If you hear a rattling in there, the bulb is likely broken. Don’t shake it hard or you run the risk of breaking the filament yourself.

Broken Light Bulb Filament how to check

Check for any wires that are Burnt Out

This next step requires you to look inside of the light bulb or socket. Take a look for any wires in there that appear to have scorch marks, or burn marks. The burn marks will show you where there may be a short. You want to check the bulb and inside of the socket to see if there is any burn marks there.

Before you look inside of your fan, or touch wiring in any way always make sure that your circuit breaker to the area is off. This way, you don’t wind up electrocuting yourself or anyone helping you with this project. If you don’t feel comfortable, call an electrician.

If you do find any burn marks, and they happen to be on the socket, replacing the light kit may be a better way to go.

Check for any loose wires inside of fan housing – especially the light kit

Make sure you switch the power off at the breaker (once again) before you attempt this step. In this step, you need to gain access to inside of the fan housing. You can access the fan housing generally by removing a couple of screws, which allows you to access the canopy. You can access the fan housing without having to pull the entire fan down. This video below, at about 1 minute in shows you how to remove a few screws to access the fan wiring inside.

You can ignore the other parts in the video about removing the blades and etc., unless you need to remove your entire ceiling fan.

If any connections are loose when reviewing the wiring, use new wire nuts to make the connections. Sometimes, people like to use solder but this might be ill advised because there’s nothing to connect the solder to. Simply tying the wires together and using wire nuts to hold them together will mean a more secure connection.

Check inside of the Light Socket for Burns or Corrosion

Another thing to check (this is somewhat shown in the video also) is remove the bulbs, and look inside of the socket. Removing the bulb is an easy step, and you probably have done this in the past when a bulb burnt out. Once the bulb is removed, look for any corrosion or foreign objects that should not be there. You can use a light brush to carefully remove any corrosion that you find. Don’t use anything heavier or stronger then a light brush, because you don’t want to do any damage to inside of the light socket – which is easy to damage.

Ceiling Fan Light Socket Corrosion
Here’s an example of corrosion that you might find inside of a light socket. You’ll want to use a very light brush to remove the corrosion, so you don’t damage the inside of the socket.

Check for broken Pull Chains

Broken pull chains are another common item that could prevent the fan from working, or the light from turning on. Some fans, especially older models do not have any remote. In rare cases, you may be able to purchase a universal receiver and remote to modify the fan into being able to accommodate a remote. However, this is generally not the case. In most cases you will find there are not the right wires, or enough wires to connect to a receiver, if the fan was never designed to connect to a receiver in the first place. The circuit itself and the technology of the fan simply was not designed to accommodate a receiver.

Many of today’s ceiling fans do have the ability to communicate with a remote. However, if you have a fan that only has pullchains, replacing the pullchains is a good idea if there is no contact. So when you pull on the pullchain, it may feel like it’s not doing anything or touching or interacting with anything. See how it “feels.” If you get the sense it’s not connected when you pull on it, or there’s no switch that you hear, try replacing the pullchain.