I just had my basement remodeled, including extensive electric work. Now the light fixture in my utility room doesn't work. Electrician claimed my fixture died, so I said I'd replace it. Bought a new one on Amazon.

Wired it up, white to white screw, black to gold screw. Bulb won't turn on. Tried multiple known-good LED and incandescent bulbs. Nothing. Voltage difference between black wire and ground is 120 volts. When the bulb is installed, voltage difference between white wire and ground is 100 volts - so I guess the bulb load is consuming 20 volts? Without the bulb, there is no voltage at the white wire.

What's going on? Did the electricians mess up my neutral upstream or something? Everything else on this circuit works. I tried bending up the copper contact in the fixture - no change.

  • 1
    Please include a photo of the termination points and how you wired it. It sounds like you've wired it wrongly.
    – vidarlo
    Commented Oct 17, 2021 at 11:46
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    That basic light fixture (bulb socket) doesn't have many parts, and can't really "go bad" unless there is an obviously broken piece of metal. Any "electrician" shouldn't have called that fixture bad without looking into it further.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Oct 18, 2021 at 13:54

2 Answers 2


That does sound like a very bad (high-resistance) connection on the neutral, and an error on the part of the electrician. Does your meter do Ohms? Power off at the circuit breaker, check the resistance between ground and neutral.

I would test the original fixture in another location [and if you discover that it works, make the electrician come back out and fix the error they evidently tried to cover by lying about the fixture dying. Or have a competent one come do it and send the incompetent one the bill.]


Probably a broken white wire. If you are using a digital multimeter, its picking up capacitively coupled voltages through other wires, so unless you are putting a load on the wire in question, the multimeter will usually show some voltage.

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