The Basics of Lighting Replacement

Posted by kbanks & filed under Projects.

Are you looking to brighten up your home with an new elegant chandelier over the dining room table? Or perhaps you need a few pendant lights to hang over your kitchen island? While you can fully expect to change light bulbs without too much hassle, replacing a lighting fixture is of a different degree of difficulty and safety. A professional electrician is usually required when it comes to replacing the light fixtures in your home.

Depending on the product and location, lighting replacement can be relatively straightforward. By way of example, let’s say you’re looking not only to replace the old light above your kitchen island, but also looking to move it over a foot or so, where it can be centered. After all, the point of a task light is to be able to see what you’re doing as you cook for your family and guests.

First, as always when working with electrical equipment, the breaker for the circuit serving the light must be switched off at the electrical panel. Next, the old light will have to be detached from the ceiling joist.

Depending on the light, there might be a cover that has to be removed before the electrician can reach the screws holding the fixture up. Your electrician will then remove the wire nuts connecting the fixtures wires from the house wires. If you are moving the light, the wire may not be long enough to reach the new location. Your electrician will then have to run a new wire to power or splice wire in the existing electrical box to reach your new light.

Home wiring has three different kinds of wires. The black wire is the live wire, which is considered “hot”. If you hold it and touch anything that is grounded, you will get shocked. The white wire is the neutral wire and while there should be no current, it is possible that bad wiring in other places in your home might accidently lead to this wire having a charge. It is always a good idea to treat this wire as if it were hot. There is also a ground wire, which is usually uninsulated copper. The fixture wiring is much the same, except the ground wire is usually green. When connecting a new light, your electrician will simply connect like to like.

Depending on the model, a hole may need to be drilled in the ceiling sheetrock (or plaster) to make room for the electrical box. The body of the light will then need to be properly secured to the electrical box.

Finding the right light for your home is only the first step. Making sure it is in the perfect location and installed correctly is just as important. Replacing the lights in your home will make it brighter and more beautiful, and a professional installation will make sure is shines for years to come.

This information is courtesy of Electrical Connection, a full service Hartford electrician providing electrical installation, maintenance and repair to the entire state of Connecticut. Please check out their blog for more electrical tips and information.


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