Electrical Wiring in the Home/Canister light malfunction


Hello, and thank you for being willing to answer questions. We have canister lights over the kitchen workspace and one of them is not functioning as it should. If you turn it on, it will stay on for some minutes, then turn off for some minutes, then turn on and repeat the cycle (without the switch being moved). The other lights in the ceiling seem identical in type, and are continuing to function normally. It seems to me that it might be loose wiring -- still, due to some injured people in our family, we have not had the problem inspected even though perhaps as much as a year has passed. I would like to know wether you think this is a major safety hazard. I tend to think that we should get a local electrician to look at the light at once, whereas Mom says she would like to wait until she can walk on her leg again -- but that may be months.

I would appreciate any advice you could give.

Many thanks,


Robert Wilber
Licensed Philadelphia Electrician
Philadelphia License # 3516 - 16765
Electricity is dangerous!
You can be injured or killed!
Improper installations can cause fire, injury and death!
Are you qualified to do this work?
Electricity is fire in a box! Death on a leash!
Always check with the local “Authority Having Jurisdiction” for an official interpretation before making installation decisions.
This information is provided for the use of parties as they see fit!
I am not responsible for the application of this information by any party, including those lacking sufficient skill or knowledge to perform these steps safely and any hazard created is the SOLE responsibility of the user.
I skipped most of my usual warning since you don't sound like you are going to interfere with your wiring yourself.

After a year you worry?

Your recessed lights have a built-in thermal sensor which interrupts the power when they get too hot. It can either be in the housing ["can"] itself or the junction box attached to the frame.
One relies on heat to work, the other works off current flow. The fact that the light is cycling on and off suggests that it is doing the job it was designed for.
Try changing the lamp at that fixture to a lower wattage [you may have a bigger bulb than the fixture is rated for].
After that, call an electrician to check fixture and possibly replace thermal. They do occasionally go bad.
You can never be sure until you check, but it is probably not a loose connection [because it is cyclic]
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Robert Wilber


Licensed Philadelphia electrician serving Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania. I install and repair residential, commercial and industrial wiring and lighting. Troubleshooting and repair of problems that stump other people is my favorite. I am willing to help people figure out why things don`t work. I understand motor controls, transformers and machine wiring. I do not teach basics to novices or do free design work.


Experience in the area I have 44 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial electrical construction and repair, 480 volts and below. This is not to be confused with one week repeated two thousand times.

44 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial electrical construction and repair

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