How to Convert a Light Fixture Into a Plug-in

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You can convert a light fixture that is hard-wired to a home's electrical system to a plug-in with a moderate amount of effort. The light fixture has a black or red wire, which is a hot lead, a white wire, which is a neutral lead and sometimes a bare or copper wire, which is a ground. The conversion procedure involves connecting the fixture's wires to a length of lamp cord, which is then plugged into a regular wall outlet.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Standard screwdriver
  • Wire nuts
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Electrical tape
  • Utility knife
  • Shut off the circuit breaker that supplies electrical current to the light fixture.

  • Remove the globe or shade from the fixture and the light bulbs. The globe will have thumb screws that secure it to the base or it may just snap off to detach.

  • Unscrew the two screws that secure the base to the electrical box in the wall or ceiling. Use a Phillips screwdriver and turn the screws counter-clockwise to loosen them. Pull out the fixture slightly from the wall or ceiling so you can access the wires.

  • Disconnect the home's electrical system wires from the fixture or the fixture's wiring, depending on how it is connected. If the wires are connected directly to the fixture, loosen the fixture's screws by turning them counter-clockwise with a Phillips or standard screwdriver, depending on the screws.

  • Unwrap the wires from the screws on the fixture. If the electrical system's wires connect to other wires on the fixture, unscrew the wire nuts that secure the wires and untwist them from each other. Set the fixture aside.

  • Twist wire nuts onto each of the wires in the electrical box and wrap them securely with electrical tape. Push the wires back into the box.

  • Cut the end of the lamp cord that does not have the plug down the center to separate the two wires. Use wire cutters to separate about 6 inches of the wires. Use wire strippers to strip off about 3 inches of the insulation from the end of each wire.

  • Notch the ceiling or wall at the edge of the electrical box using a utility knife.

  • Connect the lamp cord wires to either the screws on the fixture or the wires coming from the fixture. Since the current from an outlet is alternating, it does not matter which wire of the lamp cord connects to which screw or wire on the fixture. Twist the sets of wires together with wire nuts and wrap them with electrical tape. If the fixture has screws to which the wires connect, wrap the wires around the screws and tighten with a screwdriver.

  • Fit the cord in the notch you cut previously and secure the fixture's base to the electrical box with its screws.

  • Replace the bulbs and shade or globe and turn on the circuit breaker.

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