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Changing a light fitting might look complicated at first, but it can be an easy task, even for beginners. It all comes down to using the right tools, which you probably have already in your home, and exercising caution throughout the process. Whether you want to replace a faulty ceiling light or just wish to fancy up your living room with a new light fixture, this is the guide you need!

Are you confident you can handle changing a light fitting by yourself? Good, then grab your tools, and let’s get started.

Table of Contents:

Is light fitting installation difficult?

The short answer – no, it’s not hard to install a light fixture. The most important thing you need is a cautious mind. The process is simple – stop the electricity, take the old appliance down and put the new one in its place. Similar to other budget-friendly home improvement ideas, light fitting installation shouldn’t take more than an hour.

However, you should also keep in mind that changing ceiling lights requires complete focus during work. Working with wires and electricity is serious business, and you shouldn’t risk your health or take your own safety lightly! If you don’t think you’re up to the task of arranging wires and working with electrical panels, you should consider calling a professional electrician.

No electrical experience? Considering professional help? Contact a Fantastic electrician today to solve all your light fitting problems!

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How to change a light fitting by yourself

Now that you know the risks of do-it-yourself installation, it’s time to get down to business. The required tools and materials for the task are:

Gather your gear, put your pro-electrician pants on and get started!

Turn the power off

Safety first – we mean it! Before you attempt to replace your light fixture, you should make sure the electricity is off. To do so:

Electrical Safety
1

Locate the electrical panel of the premise.

2

Find the automatic circuit breakers and flip the switch of the one that provides energy to the light fitting you’re about to change.

tip

If your panel has old-fashioned round fuses, you will have to take out the one that provides power to your current light fitting.

In case you don’t know which particular fuse or circuit breaker handles your light fitting, leave the light switch on and start disabling each fuse or circuit breaker one by one until the light goes out.

Take off the light fitting’s cover

Hanging ceiling lights have a small, round cover called a canopy. It covers the piece’s exposed wires and provides an aesthetically pleasing transition from the colour of the light fitting to the colour of your ceiling. Usually, a simple mechanism holds the canopy in place, like a nut or a couple of screws. Undo the mechanism and let the cover drop.

How to remove a ceiling light cover with clips

If your light fitting’s cover has clips holding it, then it should be easy to take off. Check all of the clips and locate the one that feels looser than the others. That’s the clip you should remove first. Pull it back while holding the canopy, and it should fall into your hand. Remove the rest of the clips to take the cover off and proceed to the next step.

warning

Test each of the wires under the cover for electricity with a non-contact voltage tester before proceeding to the next step.

Take the old light fixture down

Once you remove the canopy, you have to unplug your light fitting’s wiring before you can take it down. Fortunately, there is a universal junction box under the canopy, so you don’t have to choose a specific type of light fitting. The junction box’s wires connect to the appliance with wire connectors. Here’s how to disconnect them:

Disconnecting
1

Locate the three sets of wires going inside the junction box: black, white and copper(the copper one can also be green).

2

Disconnect the wire connectors(usually red or blue coloured, but they can be different) and remove them.

3

If the wires are twisted around each other instead of using connectors, use the wire stripper to cut them.

4

Use the wire stripper to expose the ends of the junction box’s wires.

After you disconnect the wires, you have to take the old fixture down. There isn’t a universal way to attach a light fitting, but most of the time, they’re only hanging on a couple of screws. Unscrew them and take it off. It’s helpful to have somebody assist you with that if it’s heavy or too large.

Check this out!: How to Hang Pictures on Brick Walls

Installing the new light fitting

After you remove the old light fixture, it’s time to put the new one up. Unlike TVs, where you have to choose a TV wall mounting bracket separately, light fittings come with one. Check your particular model’s package for a circular mounting bracket or a single bar strap. The mounting part can be different in shape, but the process is the same:

Mounting
1

Take the mounting part out of the package.

2

Place it on your ceiling.

3

Tighten the screws.

Wiring the new ceiling light

Once the mounting part is in place, you have to connect the wires to the junction box. Wiring a light fitting is pretty simple:

Connecting
1

Connect your new light fixture’s wires to the ones coming out of the junction box.

2

Place each exposed wire end (black, white and copper) against its junction box counterpart.

3

Sometimes, the copper wire needs to be wrapped around a grounding screw and screwed into the junction box. This is a specific case, but there’s nothing complicated about it.

4

Twist the ends of each pair several times.

5

Cover with insulating tape.

6

After you connect the wires, mount the light fitting.

7

Tighten the screws.

warning

Don’t forget to put your light fitting’s cover on before you connect the wires!

Double-check the screws

An essential part of the process is to check your work. You don’t want your hanging light fitting to fall on somebody’s head. Check to see if you tightened all the screws before you set the cover. The light fitting should remain in place. Apply pressure to each screw of the mounting bracket to check if you tightened it enough. It shouldn’t move at all.

Set the new fixture’s cover

You almost did it! Secure your light fitting and check for any wires that pop out. They should go under the new canopy (or your old one if the new fixture doesn’t come with one). If your light fitting is hanging on any sort of chain – the time to adjust it is before you seal the canopy. Put the cover in place and tighten it.

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Power the new fixture on and test it

At last, you finished changing a light fitting all by yourself! But does it work? Turn the power from the fuse box back on and turn the lights on and off a few times. Is the light flickering? Does the light fitting give off a buzzing sound? If the answer to both questions is “No”, you’ve done an excellent job! However, if there is, in fact, flickering or buzzing, then perhaps there is a problem with the wiring and the piece needs to be taken down and checked again.

Got an electrical problem that needs fixing? Hire a Fantastic professional to have a look at it!

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Takeaways

  • Always turn the electricity off first and check before you attempt changing a light fitting.
  • Light fitting junction boxes are universal – there are only three wires: black, white and copper(green).
  • The copper(green) wire might connect to the junction box via a grounding screw.
  • Don’t forget the new fitting’s cover when you put the piece up.
  • Always double-check the tightness of the screws.

Did you manage to change your light fitting? How did it go? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!

  • Last update: August 18, 2021

Posted in All Articles, Home Improvement