Water leaking through a light fitting on the ceiling can be extremely dangerous. The immediate thing to do is to make the situation safe then ensure the problem is fixed as soon as possible by a professional.
Water will find the path of least resistance through your home and the weak point in the ceiling is usually the hole in the drywall that contains the light fixture.
A ceiling leak occurs because there is a fault in the roof or the housing structure which allows external water in, or there is a problem with the internal plumbing system.
The dangers of water leaking through a light fitting
A leak near a light fitting is a serious electrical hazard. Water acts as a very good conductor of electricity and the following immediate risks exist:
- Risk of a potentially damaging and life-threatening electric shock.
- The risk of fire – water can cause sparking and shorted wires which can start a fire.
- The risk of ceiling collapse – water pooling can cause a wet, sagging, or bowed ceiling which can fail and then fall causing extensive damage.
- Electrical wires can become corroded and develop dangerous moulds which heighten the risk of fire. Tolls on the wiring system will cause further problems down the line.
What to do immediately when you notice a water leak from a light fitting
By the time you have noticed water leaking through a light fitting, it may already have been there for a few days. This increases the risks so you must act without delay.
Do not attempt to let the water out of the light fitting until you have taken these immediate steps:
- Turn off the electricity in your home straight away – don’t touch the light switch as this can result in electric shock, but find the breaker box in your home and completely shut off the power.
- Determine if you need to turn off the water supply to your house – consider if the water is coming from the plumbing system or from outside. If the former, turn the water off at the main shutoff valve. If you’re unsure, turn the water off anyway
- Stay away from the bulges in the ceiling until you can get the issue addressed to prevent the risk of a collapse and subsequent injury.
- Remove any valuables or delicate items from the room that could become damaged by water. You may want to move furniture out of the way. You may be able to cover items with a waterproof sheet such as tarpaulin.
You should also warn any other occupants of the house. Tell them to avoid any sources of electricity until you’re sure that the situation is safe. Cut off access to the room in question.
Things you can do yourself to address a ceiling water leak from a light
Once you’re absolutely certain that the electricity is turned off, you may be able to remove the light fixture to drain out excess water. This is usually best done once a plumber has fixed the leak and an electrician has been called to make safe the wiring systems in your home.
You can place buckets under dripping areas to catch any water that is still leaking and soak up wet patches with towels. Until you can fix the leak, it is likely that water will continue to run.
Now call in a professional
If you can’t determine the specific source of the water leak, now is the time to call in a plumber.
Even if you have identified where the water is coming from, it may be unlikely you can fix the problem yourself. Even if you consider that you have, there may still be an issue that only a qualified plumber can rectify.
However, these are the most common causes of water leaking through a light fitting:
- A flooded bathroom – our baths, showers and toilets are supplied by an awful lot of water which then has to be drained away once we’re done.
- Water pipes that have burst or have developed pinhole leaks – these can be difficult to locate as most pipes are concealed behind walls.
- Faulty pipe connectors somewhere in the pipework systems from which water escapes.
- Faulty fittings and assemblies on upstairs bathtubs or the supply pipes and drainage systems. Or leaks in shower hoses and drains.
- Leaking drainage pipes leading from baths, showers, and sinks.
- A leaky roof which is letting water into the house.
- Rainwater leaking through exterior flashing.
- Frozen or clogged gutters form ice pools or accumulate rainwater which then enters the house.
- Toilet leaks – water may be leaking from the bowl or toilet cistern or the supply to the toilet.
Get light fittings and ceiling fixtures repaired
Once the leak is no more, you will likely need a professional electrician to make safe light fittings and ensure they can be operated safely in the future.
Fixing light fittings can be tricky and potentially dangerous. Do not attempt any electrical work yourself unless you are 100% certain you know what you are doing.
The same is true of repairing any damaged ceilings. It is usually the case that water-damaged drywall and insulation in the ceiling will need to be replaced entirely. Neither material can return to the same dimensions once it has dried out.
Call a plumber when water leaks through or near a light fitting
The safest, quickest and least costly step to take when you notice a leak in the ceiling coming through a light fitting is to call upon one of our qualified plumbers straight away.
Our Rapid Response Teams are available 24/7 in Brighton & Hove and throughout Sussex for all plumbing emergencies.