How to Rewire a Ceiling Light

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If your ceiling light is operating intermittently, or not at all, it may be necessary to rewire it. This doesn't have to be a difficult job, and if it is done properly, you can continue to use the light for many years. Follow a few simple steps and precautions, and you'll have your ceiling light working great in just a little while.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire nuts
  • Wire cutters
  • Electrical wire
  • Electrical tape
  • Examine the wiring connections on your ceiling light. You'll first need to turn off the power leading to this lighting circuit. Never work on a live electrical circuit. With the power off, remove the cover to the light, and unscrew the light bulb. You'll find several screws or bolts connecting the base of the lighting fixture to the gang box in the ceiling.

  • Loosen these screws, and the light fixture's base will come free of the gang box. Keep a hand on the base and lower it down so you can examine the wiring connections between the house wiring and the light fixture. If they are frayed or loose, you'll need to rewire the ceiling light.

  • Disconnect the old wiring, and examine the wiring of the ceiling light. If it is in good shape--insulation intact and with no breaks in the wiring--you can use it. If the ceiling light's wiring is bad, you may want to consider replacing the lighting fixture.
    If you've chosen to simply rewire the existing ceiling light, clean the stripped end of the wiring of any old insulation or tape. If necessary, use your wire cutters and strip back the wire 1 1/4 inches to provide new clean wire. Repeat the process with the house wiring, ensuring that you have clean wire to work with.

  • Connect the wires (black to black, white to white, and green to green) with wire nuts. Add a piece of electrical tape to the base of each wire nut for extra security. Before reattaching the ceiling light fixture to the ceiling, replace the light bulb, turn on the circuit, and test the light. If everything works properly, turn off the circuit and reattach the fixture to the ceiling, replace the bulb and cover, and enjoy the fruits of your handiwork.

Tips & Warnings

  • Replacing an old, dated ceiling light can be an easy way to dress up your home's interior at a reasonable cost.
  • Never work on a live electrical circuit.

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