Friday, June 8, 2012

Fixing a ceiling light

Several years ago, I pulled a ceiling fan out of my boys' room and installed a ceiling fan/light combination.  It was my dad -- my ultra-frugal (but not as frugal as me), omni-competent dad -- who taught me how to do basic electrical and plumbing work, and I'm intensely grateful for that, to this very day.

Hyperactive boys can be hard on ceiling fans.  A week or so ago, I noticed towels and pants hanging from the fan blades.  Not surprisingly, several days later, the fan looked like this:

In case you can't tell what's wrong, it's not that a bulb is out -- it's that the fixture was hanging at an angle.  Bad for turning on the fan.  Dangerous, in fact.

Fortunately, I'd expected I'd have to replace the fixture -- I know my boys -- and I'd bought a lamp fixture (without a fan) at Habitat Restore for cheap, several months ago.  So the next day, when the boys left for their last day of school, I turned off the power and removed the old fixture.  Sure enough, it looked bad.

That brass thing hanging down, that's what the fan screwed onto.  One of the two screws had come loose, and the brass fixture was completely bent.
No repair ever goes as smoothly as you plan, or so says my dad.  He's the one who taught me that every plumbing repair takes three trips to the hardware store.  In this case, the screws I had weren't long enough for the new fixture.  But screws are easy to get, so I lucked out with only one trip to the hardware store (yay!).  Purists would use electrical caps, but given the old wiring in my home, I was happy to have a bunch of black electrician's tape lying around.  My work is not perfectly up to code, I'm sure -- but I know it's better than a lot of other areas of my old, old home.

One hour of work, plus $5 for a used light fixture at Habitat Restore, plus $1 for an assorted set of new screws, resulted in this fixture going up into place.  For which I can only say again, Thanks Dad;  you're the best.

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