We have a bathroom light and extractor fan both turned on by one pull cord, but the first time you try to turn it on, the light just flickers or doesn’t come on at all, but when you switch it off and then turn it back on, it comes on fine. We have replaced the bulb and tried a different type, but the issue remains and is consistent, so assuming something is alternating and there is a fault in one area, but not the other. Any ideas what could cause this?

  • 2
    Hi @Paul1301 - I'm not an electrician, but it sounds like the pull switch is faulty. If you removed the bulb the fan still turns on/off but it doesn't change the faulty behaviour right?
    – Mr R
    Apr 22, 2021 at 20:48
  • 1
    What type of bulbs are you using? Apr 23, 2021 at 0:48

1 Answer 1


Pull chain switches have a rotating contact plate; each time you pull it it spins the plate and alternates between no-contact/contact-1/no-contact/contact-2/no-contact/contact-3 (the numbers are hypothetical, different switches have different numbers of contacts...). I suspect that one of the contact positions is dodgy (corroded terminal, bent contact blade, etc.)

You need a new switch.

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