Lighting Removal/Replacement

Fixture Replacement

Fixture Replacement

Lighting Fixture Removal/Install

If you want to change your lighting, most fixtures can be easily replaced.  Visit a lighting or home improvement store to see the various selections.  Most fixtures will come with installation instructions.   Be sure to thoroughly review these instructions.  The more complex the fixture, the more difficult the installation can be.  The following information is for surface mounted fixtures.  Recessed fixture replacement or new installation can be very complex.  For recessed fixtures, I recommend a professional installation.

Before working on any electrical fixture, disconnect the power by turning off the breaker in the service panel.  Some ask if just keeping the switch off will keep power from the fixture.  Normally that is yes, however, you may still have an energized line in the box, depending on how the fixture and circuit is wired.   Someone could walk by the switch and turn it on so I recommend turning off the breaker.  Better to error on the side of safety.

Remove the globe from the fixture (if any) and the light bulbs.  There should be two slotted or phillips bolts that attach the fixture to the rough-in box in the wall or ceiling behind the drywall.  Removal of those bolts will free the fixture.  Support the fixture as only the electrical wires will be supporting it.  Be aware that drywall and other debris may fall out of the box.

Note the color and condition of the wires.  Typically one white (neutral) and one black (hot) wire, but not always.  Disconnect the wire nuts from the fixture and supply wires.    If the insulation on the supply wires cracks or fractures and comes off, you have a problem.  The heat from the fixture over time can dry out the insulation.  Do not leave any copper exposed.  The wire will need to be cut back to where the insulation is intact and pliable.  Depending on how much of a tail length you have in the rough-in box, you may need an electrician to replace some wiring.

Typically there will be wire nuts connecting each wire and possibly the ground wire.  Unscrew the wire nuts.  If the new fixture wires are not stripped or pre-stripped to expose the wire, use wire strippers to strip off the insulation.  Remove 1/2” + – (expose same amount as the supply wires).  Reconnect the new fixture in the same order/color using the new wire nuts supplied with the fixture.  I recommend wrapping some electrical tape around each wire nut and wire to secure the wire nut.  Do not forget to reconnect the ground wire with a wire nut or directly to the ground screw on the fixture, depending on the set up.

For some fixtures a mounting bar may to be installed on to the rough-in box.  If the old fixture used a mounting bar, check to see if the alignment of the mounting holes are exactly the same.  Gently push the wires up into the box and orient the new fixture below the box.  Align the holes and install the new bolts through the fixture and into the screw holes in the  rough-in box.  Tighten the mounting bolts to snug the fixture to the ceiling or wall.  Install the light bulb(s) and shade, globe, hood, etc.  Turn the breaker back on and test your fixture.