How to Replace Light Fittings


Light fittings are a very important part of room décor. Learning the differences in light fittings will help you decide what would work the best for your specific room décor. Changing a light fixture is a task best left to someone with electrical experience, but if you do tackle the project yourself, the first thing you always want to do when working with electricity is to turn the power off. To do this, locate the electrical panel and turn off the breaker that allows electricity to flow to the light fitting you want to replace.

Things You'll Need

  • Stepladder
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • Slotted screwdriver
  • Pair of pliers
  • Wire nuts
  • Electrical tape
  • Turn off the breaker that feeds electricity to the light fitting. Place the stepladder under the ceiling light fitting. Remove the globe (cover) and set it aside. Next, remove the fitting from the ceiling by backing the screws out. In most cases, light fittings have a curved or straight slot with a larger hole at the end of it.

  • Loosen the screws enough to move the light fitting to the holes. If there are no slots, back the screws all the way out. Take note of how the electrical wiring from the ceiling is connected to the electrical wiring in the light fitting.

  • Disconnect the wires by untwisting them with the pliers. Do not cut them unless there is enough electrical wiring in the ceiling to strip new leads. Be certain to clean the wires of all debris. This will ensure a solid connection with the new fittings.

  • Connect the new light fitting by twisting the wires together. Use wire nuts for the best possible result. Place the wire from the ceiling and the wire from the light fitting inside the wire nut, and twist the wire nut as if you were tightening a nut on a bolt. For more information on wire nuts and electrical wiring, see "HomeIGuide" in the References section of this article.

  • Wrap the wire nut with electrical tape and gently push it into the electrical junction box in the ceiling. If the new light fitting has the slots described in Step 1, thread the screws into the ceiling junction box, slip the new light fitting over the screws and twist the fitting. Tighten the screws until they are snug; install a light bulb(s) and then the globe or cover. Turn the breaker back on.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the house is new, the insulated covering for each wire is color-coded. The new light fitting will also be color-coded. If there is a bare wire present, it will be the ground wire and needs to be connected if one is present with the new fitting as well. Use the rubber end of a hammer or pair of pliers to push the wiring into the ceiling junction box.
  • Do not work with live electricity. Always turn the source off. Do not use wire nuts that are too small for the wires. Do not stand on the top rung of a stepladder, as this can lead to serious injury.

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