The Importance of Checking the Wiring on a Lamp or Fixture

Antique lamps and fixtures are valuable pieces that can add beauty to a home. But one thing you must be aware of is, even if the lamp looks like it’s in great condition, the wiring may not be. 

If you plug the lamp in before testing the wiring you run the risk of an electric shock. It can cause the lamp to consume excess electricity leading to an increase in your electric bill. And if your house does not have proper fusing it can cause excessive heat build up that will increase the risk of fire. 

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to test your wiring. Note, these tests should be performed before you plug the lamp in. 

Continuity Tester

 A continuity tester consists of a battery in a housing with a test probe connected to one end of the battery housing and a test wire with an alligator clip at the other end. It can tell you whether an electrical component is carrying electricity and pinpoint the cause of the problem if it is not. 

To use the tester on the lamp, disassemble the lamp to get to the component you want to test. Fasten the clip of the tester to a wire or connection of the component while touching the probe to the other wire connection. 

If the tester lights or buzzes, this means the component is successfully receiving electricity. If it does not activate fully or at all, there may be a problem. 


A multimeter is a tool that many electricians find essential. It can measure voltage, current, resistance and continuity. 

While measuring all of these components may give us a clue as to how well the lamp’s wiring is functioning, the continuity will let us know whether it’s receiving electricity on the most basic level. 

To test continuity, you will need to disassemble your lamp. Then set your multimeter to a setting that looks like a speaker. This is the continuity setting. 

The multimeter has two probes. Connect one to the wire or connection in the component you want to test while putting the second probe on the other wire connection. If you see a light, all is good with the electricity. If not, you may want to conduct more tests. 

Take Your Lamp to a Professional

While testing wiring can be a DIY project, taking a lamp apart can be complicated and you don’t want to have any problems with an irreplaceable object like an antique lamp. 

And if you don’t have equipment like a multimeter or continuity tester, purchasing them is an added expense. 

It is for these reasons that it may be best to take your lamp to an expert in the first place. An expert will be able to dissemble and reassemble your lamp efficiently. They will have troubleshooting equipment on hand and, if they find any problems, they will be able to perform the necessary repairs. 

Antiques lamps and fixtures are prized possessions, but it is essential to test their wiring in advance to ensure you don’t run the risk of a shock or fire hazard. Which of these methods are most suited to your needs?