How to Install Light Fixtures

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When changing out light fixtures in ceilings or on walls, the task will require some of the same basic instructions regardless of the location or type of light fixture involved. By following these instructions, it is usually an easy task to install the fixture safely and without creating a great deal of cosmetic damage that has to be addressed afterward.

Things You'll Need

  • Light Fixture
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire crimps/cutters
  • Electric Wire caps
  • Ladder
  • Cut the flow of electrical current to the space. While this seems like a given, many people forget to throw the breakers that cut power to the wiring that runs throughout the walls and across the ceiling.

  • Remove the old fixture. This is usually easily accomplished by removing and outside bowl or plate, the light bulb, and loosening the mounting plate that holds the fixture in place. Once the plate is loose, use the wire cutters to gently sever the connections to the old fixture. Make sure to leave as much of the wiring as possible for use with the new fixture.

  • Following the instructions that came with the new fixture, connect the wiring on the fixture to the wiring in the wall or ceiling. Use the wire crimps to make sure the ends are wrapped thoroughly. Once the connections are secure, place a cap over the bare wires.

  • Thread the socket of the new fixture through the mounting plate. Screw the plate into position. This will have the basic fixture secured and ready for testing.

  • Place a bulb or bulbs into the socket of the new fixture. Cut on the power supply and see if the flow of power allows the bulbs to light up. If so, you can proceed with completing the installation. If not, cut the power off and check the wiring for any problems.

  • Attach any outward coverings, such as a bowl cover or dome. This may involve simply threading a cap onto the end of a center threaded bolt that will hold the covering in place. In other instances, it will be necessary to place the edges of the covering into railing located around the base of the mounting plate and securing the covering with the use of three to four screws that are provided in the light fixture kit.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always read the instructions that come with the light fixture before you begin the installation process. This will often help you to collect the right tools before beginning to work, which will save both time and keep frustration to a minimum.
  • Never attempt to work on any wall or ceiling fixture without first cutting the power to the space. The shock that can be received when attempting to remove the fixture without first cutting off the power can be very dangerous, especially if a ladder is in use.

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