Why does our kitchen sink light turn off and on again?

We just moved into a new-to-us house. The house itself was built in 1880 but has been upgraded several times. The circuit box has 200 amp service and the outlets are all properly grounded. Most things work just fine in the house, but our kitchen light is interesting. We can turn it on and it comes right on. Randomly it might turn off for a second or two and then come back on. I've timed it and it doesn't seem to happen at the same time every time. I've made sure that it isn't just when the washer/dryer or dishwasher are running (my initial thoughts) and just have no idea what might cause it. Any ideas?


You probably have a loose wire connection in the box that connects the light fixture.


Is it a fluorescent tube light? Usually those things begin to flicker like that just before they need changing.


Probably simply the bulb or tube announcing that it's about to fail. Replacing it is certainly the first thing to try.


IF your light is a "can" light, that is a metal cylinder recessed above ceiling level it could be functioning properly. You commented in an earlier answer that it had a "regular" bulb installed. Can light fixtures often require either flood or spot bulbs which reflect heat downward. Using a regular incandescent bulb can cause the fixture to shut down due to overheating. When the fixture cools to a safe temp it will come back on. This is a 'best guess answer" but if all wiring and fixtures have been upgraded this could be your problem.




Probably simply the bulb or tube announcing that it's about to fail. Replacing it is certainly the first thing to try.


A picture of this "kitchen light" would help very much. Replace the switch. Replace the bulb. Replace the socket. Check for a good connection. If it is fluorescent bulb, do the same thing. Replace bulb, replace the fixture, replace the ballast.


Could be an intermittent switch or a faulty connection at the switch or at the socket. This needs repairing because intermittent connections can cause enough heat to start fires. This could be caused by a faulty socket. Realize that 110VAC can electrocute you.


Could be the bulb, switch, fixture, or wiring. If it isn't the bulb, you could try replacing the fixture. If that does't work, call an electrician.


I'm going to agree with YKhan. If this is a "sink light", you're probably looking at an 18 inch fluorescent fixture. They don't last forever: if the bulb doesn't go, the ballast or the starter will. Fortunately, they are inexpensive, and easily replaced.


Unfortunately, when old houses are "upgraded", not EVERYTHING inside the house is brought up to current building code. Your house is more than 100 years old. It probably still has SOME knob and tube wiring inside the walls, or maybe there's a rodent making a nest among your wiring. A light that randomly blinks on and off is a good sign of a short circuit that needs to be repaired before it causes a fire and burns down your house. Call an electrician to come and inspect/repair your problem.