How To Replace A Ceiling Light

By Warren Lentz - October 23, 2023

Ceiling lights are an extremely common lighting solution in homes and businesses and provide extensive lighting in rooms large and small. As with any electrical installation, it is important that the correct procedure is followed for safety reasons and for the continued effectiveness of the ceiling lights themselves. We present you with an easy-to-follow guide on how to complete this project from start to finish.

What you’ll need

To get started, you'll need a number of tools and materials, including:

  • Pliers (both standard and needle-nose)

  • Voltage Tester (both contact and non-contact)

  • Wire stripper/cutter

  • Stepladder

  • 4-in-1 Screwdriver

  • Electrical Box

  • Electrical Tape (in appropriate colour)

  • Wire Nuts

  • Ground Screws

  • Lighting Fixture

Before you start

Before beginning any electrical work, it is important that the power is turned off to avoid electric shock and other hazards. This can be done using the non-contact voltage tester to test if the wires are inactive.

Step 1:

The first step is to remove the old light fixture. This should be done by removing the nuts and bolts from the canopy that connects the light fixture to the ceiling.

To ensure the light is held securely at all times, you can remove the nuts and bolts connecting the light to the ceiling circuit and then carefully lower the light to completely remove it.

Step 2:

Now that the device has been removed, you need to ensure that the old device's existing wiring continues to work properly. The system should consist of 3 wires, one black, one white and one copper. After you turn the power back on, you can use the non-contact voltage tester again to make sure the wires are working. This is usually indicated by a light on the voltage tester.

Step 3:

You should now have a clear view of the pre-wired box that sits in the ceiling. The next step is to assess whether you need to replace the mount that your device attaches to.

Light fixture brackets generally come in two forms: either a circular base plate or a strap with a screw in the middle.

If your new device is not compatible with the bracket currently installed on your junction box, it will need to be replaced according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 4:

The next step is to attach the light to the ceiling. To do this, you will need to twist the frayed section of wire attached to the light fixture toward the existing wiring in the ceiling.

Once you've done this, you can twist one cable connector and then repeat the process with the other cables.

Every wiring setup is slightly different, and if you are unsure about the details of your setup, it is best to consult a professional.

Step 5:

You can now concentrate on the new device. If you are installing a chandelier-style light fixture with a chain, now is the time to adjust the chain to the length that works best for you. This can be achieved by placing the rest of the chain in the ceiling or canopy.

You can then completely attach your new light to the ceiling.

Step 6:

The final step is to restore power to test if your device is working properly. If you find that this is not the case, it is most likely because one or more cables are not connected properly. This means you need to remove the device and check the cables again.

Ceiling lights can add much-needed light and even aesthetic appeal to any room, and now upgrading these lights may be easier than you first thought.

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