Repair Clark County to host virtual lamp repair workshop


Vancouver-based nonprofit Columbia Springs and its Repair Clark County program are hosting an online lamp repair workshop where people can learn the basics of fixing a lamp and how to diagnose problems. 

At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15, the workshop will start with basics of lamps such as common issues and wiring, and difficulty will progress to talking about electricity, dimmers and more. 

“95 percent of people go away with a working lamp,” Repair Clark County Coordinator Terra Heilman said. 

Heilman said the workshop has been offered by the nonprofit before and each offering has been popular among the community. She said most people leave the class not only confident with the different parts of a lamp but how to diagnose a problem and fix it themselves. 

Lamps are some of the most common household appliances, and Heilman explained that they are some of the easiest to fix, once you know how to diagnose them. One of the reasons they are so easy to fix is their compatibility across brands, types and even decades. 

“They’re very standard (appliances). You could have a lamp made 50 years ago and most of the parts in it are probably interchangeable with stuff you could find now in a hardware store,” Heilman said. “There are a few exceptions to the rule but it works for about 99 percent of all lamps.” 

Heilman joked about how the most basic and common problem with household lamps are bad bulbs. Many people will try two or three different bulbs with no luck only to find out a fourth bulb is the fix to the lamp. Heilman said common problems are faulty switches and old wiring, mentioning that those with older lamps should rewire the entire thing as opposed to just fixing a portion of it. 

“If what is insulating the cord is old, you might as well rewire the entire thing,” Heilman said.

Lamps are cheap to fix as well. Heilman said sets of parts run around $15 and single parts can be just a dollar or two depending on the part. During the workshop, Repair Clark County plans to have a question and answer session in real time. Heilman also recommended that viewers of the workshop have a lamp with them, working or not, so they can better identify the parts involved. 

Along with the lamp workshop, Repair Clark County works in the community to repair old appliances, wiring and more. The goal of Repair Clark County and its Columbia Springs parent program is resource conservation and sustainability. Throughout past years, Repair Clark County has hosted repair workshops for items of all shapes and sizes all over Clark County. For most of 2020, the workshops changed to a drop-off program where clients could drop off broken items to be fixed and pick them up again in two weeks time. However, due to the increased restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the drop-off program is on pause until at least 2021. 

“When the governor increased restrictions, we followed suit and put the program into hibernation mode,” Heilman said. “We are hopeful that we will be back in January with the remote program.” 

Heilman said she hopes to create a drop off program that is entirely outdoors to ensure safety surrounding COVID-19. The drop off program will continue as it has during 2020 with a two week period in between drop-offs and pickups. However, Heilman is excited to bring the program back for the community. 

Although the drop-off program is on hold, Repair Clark County is still working in the community. For the past two years, the program has created and sold “rewrapped” reusable gift wrap made from recycled cloth. Repair Clark County would sell the reusable gift wrap at the Vancouver Night Market and winter farmers market. However, due to COVID-19, the program had to change it’s plans. This year, Repair is set to deliver nearly 1,000 reusable shopping bags to Meals on Wheels to be distributed to senior citizens in the community. The bags will contain goodies, treats and more. 

“We wanted to do what we can to support the seniors in our community during this hard year,” Heilman concluded.