Q&A / 

Wiring Light Fixture Quick Start Guide

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: hammer-3-5

You want to install a new ceiling or wall-mount light fixture. Good for you! It’s not hard.

I’ve rated this project three hammers out of five only because you need to have a good understanding of how to properly make a connection between stranded and solid wire with wire nuts.

WiringLightFixtureQSG

Be sure you read any warning labels with respect to bulb sizes. Traditional incandescent light bulbs get very hot and can cause fires with OLDER wiring.

Modern wiring with high-temperature plastic insulation can resist hot bulbs, but you may be working in a house with old wiring that can catch on fire. BE CAREFUL. If in doubt, call in a professional electrician. Don’t become a statistic.

Watch the video below unless you’ve come here from YouTube having already watched it.

Be sure to look at the RELATED CONTENT links at the bottom of this page. Lots of goodies there for you.

REQUIRED TOOLS & MATERIALS:

         
dotElectrical Tape toolselectrical tape    dotWire Nuts  toolswirenuts
dotNeedle Nose Pliers  toolsneedlenose   dotSafety Glasses  toolssafetyglasses
dotWire Strippers (for new installations only)  toolswirestrippers   dotInexpensive Multimeter (ensure power is off)  toolsvoltmeter
dotInsulated Screwdrivers  toolsinsulatedscrewdrivers    dotTim's Favorite Tools  timcartoon50x50

TIPS

  • Turn ON light fixture. Be sure a new bulb is in the old fixture so the light comes on.
  • Have helper turn off circuit breaker so you see light bulb go OUT or OFF.
  • Start to disassemble the light fixture. Be careful with glass globes.
  • Chandeliers can be HEAVY. Lift the chandelier first by the chain to see how heavy it is.
  • Have a helper support the chandelier if necessary while you disconnect the wires.
  • Double check power is OFF using voltage meter after you remove wire nuts.
  • Check insulation on all wires. Look for cracks, splits or melted insulation. Tape defective wires with electrical tape OR call in a professional electrician for help.
  • Connect black wire on new fixture to load or black wire in electrical box. Black wire on new fixture is connected to tab at the base of the light fixture socket.
  • Connect white wire on new fixture to neutral or white wire in electrical box. White wire on fixture is connected to screw threads of fixture. This is a safety fixture in case your fingers touch the threads of the bulb while you install bulbs.
  • When connecting stranded wire from the fixture to solid copper wire in the electrical box, TWIST the stranded wire tightly in a clockwise direction looking down at the end of the wire. Do this before trying to connect it to the solid wire from the electrical box.
  • Make sure at least 5/8-inch of insulation is stripped from the end of the stranded wire.
  • Put end of stranded wire at the end of the solid copper wire. Use a yellow wire nut to connect the two wires. Tighten the wire nut finger tight and see if you can pull the stranded wire from the connection with moderate pressure. If you can, you goofed up. Start over.
  • Connect green or bare grounding wire of new fixture to ground wire in electric box. If there is no ground wire in the electric box, there’s nothing you can do.
  • Carefully tuck the wires into the electric box and connect the fixture to the electric box with the screws that fit the box.
  • Turn on circuit breaker and test new light fixture.
  • Celebrate your Victory!

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