How to Fix Recessed Lighting

If you have a low ceiling or aren’t a fan of hanging light fixtures, then recessed lights are your best friend. They tuck away neatly, right into the ceiling out of sight and yet still put out an excellent amount of light. However, installation can be tricky and often homeowners find their recessed lights become crooked or fall out easily.

This is often caused by cheap light clips that simply don’t perform well. When you press the clips into place, the clip will move up and down to form a sort of springy leg. Four of these legs combine in order to hold the light in place against the ceiling drywall. When the clip is properly installed, you can feel it lock into place. However, when it’s not properly installed, it will loosen.

How do you fix a recess light that just won’t stay in place? We have a solution; it may not be the fanciest option, but it’s a quick fix that gets the job done.

1. Gather your tools.

It’s a big list; are you ready? First grab a heavy-duty staple gun, make sure it has staples, and… that’s it. Recess lights don’t have much to them and aren’t constructed of the most durable materials out there, so a simple (yet sturdy) staple gun is really all you need.

2. Use the staple gun to insert a staple into the recessed light housing area

Some suggest bending the clip outward, as they find this helps the clip better engage when it is pushed into place, but others, including many electricians, suggest quickly striking the clip once with a small, heavy object such as a pair of pliers. It’s very important to only strike the clip once because if once doesn’t get the job done (that is, locking it into place), then a second strike won’t either. This method of inserting a staple into the housing area keeps the loose clip in place by way of a small item in between the clip and the housing surface. A small, sturdy staple is really the only thing that will work in this case.

3. Staple between the clip and light housing.

Try to fire the staple gun in such a way that you get one of the staple’s legs to jam between the clip and the housing, while the other staple leg can then be bent over to hold the clip in place. And voila! A cheap repair to a frustrating problem.

But what if you aim with the staple gun and miss? Or what if you don’t have, can’t afford, or can’t borrow a staple gun?

Remember that the light’s housing is a thin, cheap material, so another option is to puncture the recessed light housing with one of the staple’s legs, subsequently forming an arm with the other leg of the staple to hold the clip in place.