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Why is Water Leaking from the Light Fixture in My Ceiling?

Water coming in from one of your light fixture may be caused from a broken water pipe or a damaged roof.  The reason why water leaks from your ceiling light fixture is that water always seeks out the path of least resistance.  It's much easier for water to travel along the wiring in your celing to a light fixture and come out that way, then it is for it to soak itself through your ceiling.

Is water leaking from a light fixture dangerous?

YES! Water leaking through a light fixture is hazardous and can lead to electric shock, electrical fires and other dangers.

Unfortunately, it’s often impossible for homeowners to detect a leak until the damage is already done since the source of the leak is usually hidden by walls and ceilings. In many situations, the first signs of a leaking pipe, or seeping roof, occur when the water makes it into your home through the ceiling.

There are three basic reasons for water leaking from your light fixture:

  • Flooded sink, toilet or tub
  • Heavy Rain or Severe Weather
  • Leaking pipes or a busted water line 

Electrical Fires

Ceiling damage is one of the easiest ways water leaks can enter light fixtures. If you notice water pooling near a lightbulb or panel, this might be one of your first signs of a serious problem. Water is a conductor of electricity, and when it is in contact with electricity, it can harm people and create havoc in your home and potentially cause electrical fires.

When water has been leaking from a burst pipe or your roof, the leak will have already existed for several days. As the days pass, electrical wires in a leaking light fixture can develop mould or corrosion. Damage to the wires can short the circuit and cause sparks that could potentially catch fire. 

Regardless of the reason, it’s important to note how easily water can enter your home and take steps to address immediately. 

Ceiling Collapse

One sure sign of a water leak is a sagging, soggy bulge in your ceiling. When ceilings are soaked, they get soft and can collapse because the material will not be able to withstand the water damage. If you see a bulge in your ceiling, ensure that you and your family are removed from the location.

Wet spots on your celing should also never be ignored.  A wet spot could indicate a minor roof issue that needs to be fixed or a small pipe leak.  Ignoring either problem will lead to greater damage later on.  Wet spots on your ceiling may also develop if your attic is not ventilated properly.

Do Not Touch A Wet Light Fixture

It is extremely dangerous to use any electrical fixture that has been in contact with water. This is because water, and the contaminants within it, acts as a conductor of electricity, which means it can carry an electrical current to whatever it touches, including people.

If you see water pooling in a ceiling light fixture, even touching the switch to shut it off can result in electrical shock.

What Do I Do When it Happens?

The first step of action that you can take is to turn off the electricity in that area of your home where the service panel, breaker box, is located. This will protect you from being electrocuted when in contact with the water. Be sure to directly turn off the circuit, not just the light switch, which you do not want to touch. This will prevent any electricity from running through your home and causing any other problems.

If you are unsure of what circuit breaker controls your overhead light, you can turn off your main power supply with the main switch.  Make sure you have a flashlight if you are doing this in a dark room.  You also want to be cautious of doing this during a heavy rain storm as you could turn off your sump pump.

If the water is suspected as coming from a leaking pipe, turn off the water supply at the home's main shutoff valve. You cannot trust turning off the bathroom water valves. Make sure the water is turned off from the main valve.

If you have successfully turned off the water and power, soak up the water with towels. If there is still water in light fixtures, remove the cover of the light bulb or panel and drain away the water. Inspect the ceiling around the fixture and look for any pooling water.

Call a Professional Plumber

This may be a two-step process depending on where the water is coming from in your home. There may be both a plumber and electrician involved if there is a leaking pipe.

But, whatever you do, this is not the time to try and resolve the problem yourself. Do not try to fix or turn on the light fixture yourself. Contact our Oakville Plumbers to help you address the problem, get it fixed and prevent any further damage in your home.