How to Change a Light Fixture

An affordable fix that can have a dramatic change around the house is to update old or broken light fixtures. This easy project is simple enough to do that, as long as you have a few simple tools and a ladder, you can effortlessly accomplish it. From the not-so-handy homeowner to the general contractor Dixon IL, this is a project that can be done quickly by anyone!

Step 1: Make sure the power is turned off

Find the breaker that is connected to the room where you will be working, usually located in your electrical panel. Switch the breaker off, so that there is no more power going to that room.

Step 2: Remove old fixture

Climb a ladder so that you can reach the fixture without any trouble. Carefully remove the old cover, and remove the old wire connectors. Untwist the fixture wires from the installed wires. Remove any other elements from the old fixture that are left.

Step 3: Secure electrical box

Once the old fixture has been removed, check to see if the electrical box is securely attached. If not, tighten the screws holding it in place, being careful not to over-tighten them. The electrical box must be securely mounted to the building structure, in order to support the weight of the light fixture. The box must be grounded, or attached to a grounded wire in the ceiling. If you have any concerns about your existing electrical box, purchase and install a new one prior to installing your new light fixture.

Step 4: Connect wires

When installing a new fixture, be sure to keep all instructions that come with the fixture. Read the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to matching the wires on your fixtures to the wires already installed in your home.

Generally speaking, black wires connect to black, and white wires connect to white. Grounding wires are typically green, and connect to a grounding screw on a grounding bar. Using a wire stripper, carefully remove the protective layer of the wire from your new fixture. Wrap the newly exposed wire to the bare section of the corresponding wires in the electrical box, and screw a wire connector over the two wires. Finally, connect the grounding wire.

Step 5: Secure base

Once all the wires have been connected, carefully fold the wires back up into the electrical box. Using the included hardware, attach the base or canopy of your fixture to the electrical box. If you are working on replacing a fixture on a high ceiling, having another set of hands nearby could be beneficial.

Step 6: Install lightbulbs

Each light fixture has recommended lightbulbs and wattages to use for maximum efficiency. Install the recommended bulbs, upgrading to more efficient LED bulbs if possible. Once the lightbulbs have been installed, turn the breaker in your electrical panel back on. With the power back on, switch on your light switch to the fixture to check and make sure everything is working.

Step 7: Install cover

Now that everything is installed and working properly, attach any trim pieces and the cover to your light fixture. If your fixture is a pendant or hangs by a chain, make any necessary adjustments to the length.

If this seems a little overwhelming, general contractor Dixon IL can assist in changing out light fixtures for those who are a little timid when it comes to playing with electricity, or aren’t equipped with a tall enough ladder! Contact us today. We are happy to help!

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