Archive for Monday, July 27, 2009

Switching out old light fixtures a bright idea

July 27, 2009

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Replacing a broken or worn light fixture is an easy way to brighten your decor. Step 1: As with all electrical projects, turn the power off to the light fixture using the fuse or circuit breaker in the electrical entrance panel.

Step 2: Remove the glass shade, light bulbs and any other extra parts from the existing fixture.

Step 3: Unscrew the mounting nuts or screws to loosen the fixture from its mounting bracket. If the fixture is heavy, you may want someone to help you hold it at this point.

Step 4: Use a voltage sensor to test each electrical wire behind the light fixture to confirm the power is off.

Step 5: Typically the wiring behind a light fixture is simple — white to white, black to black and possibly a ground wire. You will need to wire the new fixture exactly the same as the old fixture. If necessary, use masking tape and a pen to mark each wire or draw a wiring diagram before disconnecting anything.

Step 6: Remove any electrical tape and unscrew the plastic wire nuts to disconnect the old lighting fixture from the box.

Step 7: Move the wires out of the way and hold up the new light fixture to be sure it can use the same mounting hardware as the old fixture. Chances are it will fit. If not, a quick trip to the hardware store should supply you with the necessary mounting hardware to complete the job.

Step 8: Use plastic wire nuts to connect the new fixture wires to the existing wires. Refer to your wiring diagram if necessary. It is very important that you rewire the new fixture exactly the same as the old fixture was wired.

Step 9: Wrap each wire nut and set of wires with electrical tape to secure the wires completely.

Step 10: Raise the new fixture into place and attach it to the mounting bracket using the appropriate nuts or screws.

Step 11: Install the glass shade along with the recommended wattage light bulb. A compact fluorescent bulb will reduce heat loss and save on energy cost.

Step 12: Turn the power back on at the electrical entrance panel and test your new light fixture.

If the light bulb you put in the fixture works and you rewired the new fixture exactly the same way as the old fixture everything should be in working order.

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