How to Install a Pot Light in a Suspended Ceiling

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A pot light, or can light as it is more commonly called, is an effective option for room lighting where there is a suspended ceiling. A suspended ceiling hides electrical wiring but still allows for the mounting of lights on the original surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Can light fixture
  • Trim kit
  • Light bulb
  • Utility knife
  • Electrical tape
  • Support strap
  • Hire a qualified electrician or a contractor with electrical expertise to run a BX feed or electric flex whip to the point where the can light will be installed. The electrical box should be connected to a switch control for the light.

  • Turn off the circuit breaker and light switch. Remove the ceiling tile where the pot light will be installed, along with a ceiling tile next to it.

  • Cut a circle in the tile where the pot light will be installed using a sharp utility knife. A circle template will be included with the pot light fixture. Cut from the face side of the tile so the surface is not chipped or marred. Reinstall the ceiling tile with the hole in it.

  • Feed the pre-wired BX whip down through the hole. Open the electric connection box on the can light, feed the BX whip into it and secure it with a connector as the box requires. Attach the color-coded wires with wire nuts and secure them with electrical tape.

  • Close the fixture box and slip the fixture up through the hole. Using the clips included with the fixture, spring-mount the fixture against the top of the ceiling tile.

  • From the space created by removing the adjacent tile, attach the BX whip with an approved strap to the ceiling or any framework above the suspended ceiling near the pot light. This will keep the whip from lying on the ceiling tiles and prevent the fixture from falling to the floor if it is ever knocked out of the tile.

  • Install the finish trim and bulb in the pot light from below. Reinstall the other ceiling tile and turn on the breaker and switch.

Tips & Warnings

  • Can lights for suspended ceilings are available in commercial grade and are installed directly on the grid work by support arms connected to the fixture. These work best for new construction and when inspections are required.

References

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