How to Install a New Light Fixture

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:09
A simple guide to replacing and wiring a light fixture If you're looking for a simple way to upgrade a living space, try replacing your light fixture with a new pendant or chandelier light. Installing a light fixture is an intermediate DIY...
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If you're looking for a simple way to upgrade a living space, try replacing your light fixture with a new pendant or chandelier light. Installing a light fixture is an intermediate DIY project you can accomplish in as little as two hours. It requires basic electrical skills, a screwdriver, and a new fixture. In this guide, we'll teach you how to install a new light with or without existing wiring.

Things You Should Know

  • Switch the circuit breaker to the "OFF" position to replace a light fixture. Then, unscrew the canopy and wires in a counterclockwise position.
  • To install a fixture without existing wiring, cut a hole in the wall and ceiling for a junction box and the fixture. Thread an electrical Romex cable through each hole.
  • Connect the wiring to the new fixture by twisting the corresponding wires clockwise. Place the wire nuts over the wires and mount the fixture.

Locate the circuit breaker.

  1. Switch the appropriate room's circuit breaker panel to the
    Every home and apartment has a circuit breaker, which controls all of the electrical power in the home. Look for a matte grey metal box in the basement, garage, utility closet, or hallway. Each circuit controls the power to a specific room. Flip the corresponding switch to the "OFF" position before handling any wires.[1]
    • For example, if you're changing a light fixture in the living room, look for the corresponding "LIVING ROOM" circuit breaker.
    • If you're working with an older circuit breaker, you may have fuse blocks instead of switches. Pull the fuse block out; either side will have an "ON" and "OFF" label. Insert the fuse block with the "OFF" side facing up.
    • Always shut the power off before any electrical job to avoid electrical shocks or hot wires.
    Jeff Huynh

    Jeff Huynh

    Professional Handyman
    Jeff Huynh is the owner of Moseybolt, a full service solution in home services, renovations, and repair in the Greater Seattle area. He has over five years of handyman experience. He has a BS in Business Administration from the San Francisco State University and his Certificate in Industrial Electronics Technology from North Seattle College.
    Jeff Huynh
    Jeff Huynh
    Professional Handyman

    Don't take chances when working with electricity. Jeff Huynh, the general manager of Handyman Rescue Team, says: "The first thing to do when installing a light is turn off the power. Turn the switch off and the power off at the breaker. If you're unsure which breaker turns the power to that room off, shut the whole panel off."

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Remove the existing light fixture.

  1. Unscrew or twist the canopy from the surface to expose the wires.
    To reach the light fixture, use a stepladder. If you have a dangling overhead light, the canopy is the rounded covering that hides the light's wiring and hardware. Remove any screws with an appropriate-sized screwdriver.
    • If there are no visible screws, like with a standard flush mount light or similar pendant lights, you may need to twist the canopy or trim off.
    • If possible, have another person help you support the weight of the existing fixture or balance the weight of the fixture in your other hand.
    • You may want to wear safety goggles or a mask for any dust and debris falling off the fixture.

Test the wires.

  1. Confirm the power is off with a voltage tester tool.
    Before handling wires, take a non-contact voltage tester to test the wires. Use the tip of the tool to touch the wires. If the tester is green, the power is off, and you can continue to the next step. If the tester is red, the power is still on. Return to your circuit breaker to confirm you shut the power off to the correct room.[2]
    • If you don't have a pre-installed light fixture, test the wires in the junction box (located in the ceiling or attached to the wall) with a voltage tester.
    • If you're uncomfortable working with wires, hire an electrician to handle the job. Installing a light fixture can cost anywhere from $155 to $953.[3]
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Disconnect the wiring.

  1. Twist the wire connectors counterclockwise to disconnect them.
    Before moving any wires, take a photo for reference. Twist the wire nuts counterclockwise with your fingers to remove them. Carefully untangle the wires from the fixture from the wires in the junction box (located in the ceiling).[4]
    • You can also use masking tape to label each wire for reference.

Install the mounting bracket.

  1. Screw the mounting bracket into the junction box.
    A mounting bracket keeps the light fixture in place. Take a screwdriver and unscrew the original mounting bracket from the junction box. A junction box is typically attached to the wall framing; look for a metal or plastic grey box.[5] Use two screws to attach the new mounting bracket to the junction box.
    • Every light fixture comes with a mounting bracket. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation.
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Assemble the new light fixture, if needed.

  1. If your fixture requires assembly, use the included instructions.
    If you're installing a new pendant or chandelier, now is the time to assemble it. Use a screwdriver to put the fixture together. If your new light includes a chain, use chain pliers to adjust the chain to your desired length.[6]
    • To minimize the look of wires, thread the electrical wires through every other link in the chain.
    • A new light fixture can be installed when you're looking to update a space's aesthetics or notice issues, like frequent bulb replacements, dimming, flickering, or visible damage to the fixture.

Connect the wiring.

  1. Connect the new fixture's corresponding wires to the wires in the ceiling.
    Typically, a light fixture will have four different wires. A neutral wire (white), a line or load wire (black), a grounding wire (green or bare white), and a strain relief cable (copper color). Wrap the strain relief cable around the grounding screw on the mounting bracket. Then, connect the corresponding wires to one another with wire nuts.[7]
    • Connect white-to-white, black-to-black, and green-to-green wires together.
    • Afterward, stuff the wires back into the ceiling, ensuring any exposed wires don't touch one another to avoid an electrical shortage.
    • Your new light fixture will include new wire nuts, so you don't have to reuse the old ones.
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Screw the new fixture in place.

  1. Mount the new light fixture following the manufacturer's instructions.
    Refer to the instruction manual included in your light fixture kit. Typically, this involves screwing the light fixture onto the mounting bracket. Then, cover any exposed screws on the canopy with screw caps that come included in the kit.[8]
    • If you're installing a light fixture without existing wiring, you'll need to cut a hole into the drywall with an oscillating tool. The hole should be big enough for the junction box and light canopy to fit.
    • Weave an electrical cable (typically Romex) from the light canopy hole to the junction box hole. Use a wire stripper to peel back the outer layer to weave the neutral, line, and grounding cables. Connect the corresponding wires to the light fixture.[9]
    • The process is the same for exterior lights. However, ensure you purchase an UL-rated light fixture for outdoor use.

Attach the trim and light bulb.

  1. Use a screwdriver to attach the trim and twist on an LED light bulb.
    If your new fixture comes with a trim or cover, screw it into place with a screwdriver. Then, install the manufacturer's recommended light bulb. If you're looking to improve your home's energy efficiency, opt for an LED bulb.[10]
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Test the light fixture.

  1. Flip the circuit breaker switch to the "ON" position.
    Once your new light fixture is secure, return to the circuit breaker and restore the room's power. Flip the switch and let there be light! If power doesn't work, it's likely because either the white or black wires aren't connected. Inspect the wires and connections and try again.[11]
    • If you still have issues, contact your local electrician for further assistance.

Things You'll Need

  • Light fixture
  • Stepladder
  • Non-contact voltage tester
  • Masking tape, optional
  • Chain pliers, optional for chandeliers
  • Oscillating tool, optional
  • Electrical cable, optional
  • Wire stripper, optional
  • UL-rated light fixture, for outdoor use
  • LED bulb
  • Assorted screwdrivers
  • Wirenut assortment, typically included in the light fixture kit

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