Replacing a light fixture proves to be a simple project. However, caution ensures it is not shockingly simple. With any electrical repair or installation, be sure to understand the steps to protect you and your home. We thought we would rundown a quick checklist of tips and safety precautions for the next time this shows up on your to do list.
First, turn off the power
Shutting off the light at the switch alone does not necessarily cut power to the wires. Head to the breaker panel to turn off power to the fixture you are working on. This important step ensures that power will be MIA in the box needing your attention.
For unlabeled panels, turn the light fixture on. Then, power off the circuits in the breaker panel one at a time until the source is revealed. Label the circuit, leaving it off. Turn the switch off in the room as well.
Remove the old fixture
Once the power is cut, you can remove the old fixture. Disconnect the fixture wires from the installed wires by removing the connectors and twisting the wires apart. Any remaining fixture parts can also be taken down.
Be sure to tighten the screws in the mounted electrical box, if they are loose. Also, be certain the box is suitable for the weight of the new fixture and is grounded. If not, install a new electrical box.
Connect the wires
You are halfway there. The three wires dangling from the electrical box should be white (neutral), black (current) and copper (ground). The manufacturer’s instructions provide further information on connecting the wires. Be sure to follow them carefully, even those of you who detest directions.
To get started, the black and white wires typically connect with their color matching counterparts. The copper, often green, wire connects to a grounding screw. Each wire attaches by twisting or wrapping its bare ends around the bare ends of its counterpart. The final step involves twisting on the wire connectors. And, tucking the wires back into the electrical box.
Attach the new fixture
The new fixture mounts to the electrical box with the provided hardware. In some cases, wisdom says to have an extra set of hands nearby. Heavy fixtures or those mounted on high ceilings may prove precarious for one installer. Mount any trims or covers, and adjust any chain lengths.
Once installed, locate the recommended, correct wattage bulb. LED bulbs are an efficient choice. Following both of these recommendations leads to greater bulb life, increased safety and decreased costs.
Turn on the power
While it may seem obvious, return to the breaker panel and turn the circuit on. Power is restored, and the switch should now be operational.
Enjoy the glow of a job well done! If you have any questions or concerns about this or other electrical happenings in your home, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.