How to Replace a Recessed Can With a Chandelier

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Replacing a recessed can light with a chandelier gives the room a stylish focal point and an effective light source. Lighting manufacturers create chandeliers in many different designs, from basic single-bulb hanging globes to fixtures that feature several light bulbs and decorative crystals. Because of a chandelier's heavy weight load, the chandelier needs the recessed can's light-duty bracing replaced with a heavy-duty fixture brace. A chandelier reuses the same wire set and switch that controlled the old recessed light.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver set
  • Heavy-duty fixture brace
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Wire connectors
  • Turn off the recessed can's circuit breaker.

  • Remove the recessed can's light bulb. Slide the recessed can's trim ring off the bulb housing. The trim ring's tabs grip the inside edge of the trim ring against the bulb housing.

  • Open the recessed can's electrical compartment, using the correct screwdriver to loosen the compartment's locking screw. The electrical compartment mounts against the exterior side of the bulb housing.

  • Twist the wire connectors found inside the electrical compartment counterclockwise, releasing the electric-supply wire set's wires from the recessed can's wires.

  • Loosen the electrical compartment's wire clamp, located where the electric-supply wire set enters the compartment, with a slotted screwdriver. Pull the electric-supply wires out of the wire clamp and the electrical compartment.

  • Remove the screws holding the recessed can's two braces against the ceiling joists, using the correct screwdriver to turn the screws counterclockwise. Each end of both braces contains a screw.

  • Remove the old recessed can. Feed the electric-supply wire set through the hole in the drywall.

  • Position a heavy-duty fixture brace above the old recessed can's hole in the drywall and secure the fixture brace to the ceiling joists, following the brace manufacturer's instructions. Some fixture braces use screws to hold the ends of the brace against the joists. Other fixture braces use a hex nut and threaded rod to force the ends of the brace against the inside of the joists. If using a screw-secured brace, run the screws through the brace's screw holes and use a screwdriver to turn the screws clockwise. If using a hex nut-style brace, turn the hex nut clockwise with an adjustable wrench until the brace feet grip the joists.

  • Push the electric supply wires through one of the wire access holes found on the side of the fixture brace's junction box. Tighten the junction box's wire clamp with a slotted screwdriver. The fixture brace manufacturer supplies a junction box and a mounting bracket with the brace.

  • Secure the junction box to the heavy-duty fixture brace with the mounting bracket, using the brace manufacturer's instructions. Center the junction box in the drywall's hole. Usually a heavy-duty fixture brace uses a U-bolt mounting bracket to hold its junction box in place.

  • Secure the chandelier's mounting bracket to the junction box with the bracket's mounting screws, using the correct screwdriver to turn the screws clockwise.

  • Spin the chandelier's chain holder into the mounting bracket's round hole, found in the center of the mounting bracket. If the chain holder uses a locking nut, reach above the mounting bracket and spin the locking nut clockwise onto the chain holder's threads until the nut touches the top of the bracket.

  • Lift the chandelier up to the ceiling and spin the chandelier's chain adapter onto the end of the chain holder, turning the adapter clockwise until the adapter bottoms out. Slowly release the chandelier's weight onto the chain adapter.

  • Twist the chandelier's black wire around the electric-supply wire set's black wire and spin a wire connector over the wire ends. Wrap the chandelier's white wire around the electric-supply wire set's white wire and cover the wire ends with a wire connector. Bend the chandelier's copper wire around the electric-supply wire set's copper wire and twist a wire connector over the wire ends.

  • Slip the wire connectors into the junction box. Use care to avoid loosening the wire connectors.

  • Hold the chandelier's junction box cover, sometimes called a canopy, against the ceiling. Mount the cover to the chandelier chain, following the chandelier manufacturer's directions. Usually, a threaded retaining collar holds the cover in place. A threaded retaining collar spins onto the end of the junction box's chain holder or the chain adapter, depending on the chandelier model.

  • Screw in the chandelier's light bulbs and install the chandelier's decorative parts, using the chandelier manufacturer's instructions.

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  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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