3 Steps for Installing a New Ceiling Light

There are a lot of reasons to replace a ceiling light, from having an outdated lighting fixture to simply wanting to upgrade the space. Regardless of your reasoning, it isn't too difficult of a job if you are comfortable with basic electrical work at home. Here are some tips for installing a ceiling light if you plan to do it on your own.

Gather Your Tools

Before you start working on the ceiling light, make sure you have the necessary tools. You need certain tools not only to remove your current lighting fixture, but to install the new one. If you are accustomed to DIY projects, you might have most or all of these items in your garage. To install a new ceiling light, you will need the following:

  • Screwdriver
  • Electric drill
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire nuts
  • Heat shrink tubing
  • Foot stool
  • Gloves
  • Goggles

Remove the Current Ceiling Light

Practice safety first by disconnecting the power source to the room you are working in. You can do this by pulling down the lever for that breaker in your electrical panel, or by disconnecting the fuse if you have a fuse box. If there are others in the home, either let them know you need the power kept off, or leave a note on the electrical panel so they don't attempt to turn it on while you are working. Also wear goggles and gloves as extra protection before you remove the lighting fixture.

When you are ready to remove the light, start by removing any type of shade it has. Some shades simply pull off, while others need to be screwed off. Loosen the screws to the base of the lighting fixture when the shade is removed. With the screws loosened, you should be able to pull the base from the ceiling so you can access the wires. Take note of how the fixture is wired so you know how to re-wire the new fixture. Be careful when you do this so you don't damage any wires and need to call an electrician. Carefully disconnect each wire from the base and remove it completely.

Install the New Ceiling Light

You are now finally ready to install the new ceiling light. Take a look at your new lighting fixture to see if it needs to be prepped. Some lighting fixtures come with instructions to prep the lamp base or to wire lamp sockets beforehand, so read the instructions. After you have determined if you need to prep the lamp base, you can attach the mounting bracket to the ceiling. If you are replacing the old fixture with a similar one, you might find that you can use many of the same holes as the mounting bracket. Be sure you have holes in the right place on the ceiling and that they also match up with your lighting fixture.

Once the mounting bracket is attached, you will grab your lighting fixture and start to connect the wires. Make sure all of the wires are in good condition with no frayed edges. If you are unsure, contact an electrician instead of continuing with the project. Once the wiring is attached, install the base of the fixture to the ceiling and add the shade if it comes with one. For assistance, contact a residential electrician.


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