My kids bathroom light keeps turning itself off after about 5 minutes. Then after 10 minutes or so it will turn itself on again, and so forth. I am wondering if this is something relatively simple that I can fix?

  • Is it an energy bulb, CFL? Did you try replacing the bulb?
    – SteveR
    Feb 11, 2012 at 17:02
  • 1
    A part of your question is missing. Please edit it to complete your sentence so that we can rea Feb 11, 2012 at 17:55
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    Make sure the bulb is screwed all the way in and isn't loose.
    – BMitch
    Feb 12, 2012 at 0:59
  • How did you fix it? I started to have the same problem when changed the older bulbs to LEDs. Dec 5, 2019 at 15:13

2 Answers 2


An intermittent problem like this could be caused by a combination of a loose connection and the waste heat from the bulb. As the bulb and light fixture heat up, they expand eventually causing the loose connection to be broken, turning off the light. With the light off, they cool down and shrink, remaking the connection so the light turns on again.

This could be dangerous as you could get arcing across the connection at the points where the light turns on or off, which can cause electrical fires.

To find and fix the problem:

  1. Try a different light bulb; this will tell you if the fault is with the bulb or the fixture.
  2. Turn off power to the fixture at the service panel. Open up the fixture and check that all the connections inside it and in the ceiling box are secure. Close up the fixture and reapply power.
  3. If you're still seeing the problem, it's likely a fault in the light fixture itself. I'd consider replacing it at this point (or there are repair kits, depending on your skill and comfort level with diagnosing the fault and doing the repair).
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    Some lighting devices have a overheat protection device. Feb 14, 2012 at 5:15

If the light is recessed, check the bulb size as to compare to what is rated for the can. The rating will be on a paper label glued inside the can. Too much wattage equals too much heat and the thermal unit inside the can is doing its job, turning off the lamp to cool down and turning the lamp back on when it is safe. It will repeat until the lamp is replace or the thermal unit goes bad, which means a costly or time consuming repair.

Of course, if it not a recessed light it probably what @Niall C. is talking about.

  • I have been having this same issue with a light in my bathroom that is recessed with a cover over it. The first time it happened I thought the bulb had just burned out. When I went to go replace it, I found the light bulb (and its surroundings) to be unusually hot. The wattage ratings were fine, but I went ahead and replaced the bulb with a CFL and have never had the issue since.
    – Kellenjb
    Feb 11, 2012 at 22:37
  • It could be a non-IC (insulated ceiling) can put in. There is suppose to be 3"(?) kept away from non-IC cans for them to breath. This shows you that wattage is also a measurement of heat and that CFLs put out less heat. Good move on your part and good thinking.
    – lqlarry
    Feb 11, 2012 at 23:57
  • Yeah, could be a non-IC. I just figured I would add my 2 cents since your answer seemed to match up with what I observed and maybe the poster is having the same thing happening.
    – Kellenjb
    Feb 12, 2012 at 0:52

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