A Step-by-Step Guide to Replacing Lighting Fixtures

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Replacing broken lighting fixtures may sound like a big task, but it is really an easy do-it-yourself project. From time to time, old lighting fixtures may stop working or you may find when redecorating a room that the old lighting fixture no longer matches the decor and then decide to replace it. Either way, it is an easy project that only requires a screwdriver, pliers, new fixture, hardware and a ladder.

Shopping for a New Fixture

Deciding on a new lighting fixture can be based solely on looks and what you feel would be a good match for the remaining decor in the room. The task of replacing a lighting fixture is a lot easier however, if it matches the general size of the fixture already there and can therefore use existing hardware without any extra drilling or added supports. Because fixtures tend to look smaller hanging in a big store than in a small room in your home, measure the existing fixture to have something to compare it with while shopping.

Getting Started

Before doing anything, turn off the power to the area of the home you will be working in. Turn the light on or another device in the room to ensure when you hit the breaker it goes off and it is the right one. Remember turning off the power switch is not enough. Use the ladder to climb up and remove the current lighting fixture, usually all that is needed for this is a screwdriver and maybe pliers or a wrench if there are cap nuts. If it is a heavy fixture you will need help supporting it once you have unscrewed it and need to hold it up while working on the wires.

Disconnecting the Current Fixture

Before disconnecting the wires you should also consider testing the wires to make sure the power really is off. You can buy a circuit testing device for this at home improvement stores. After you have verified the power is off, untwist all wiring until nothing is left connected to the ceiling outlet box. Carry the fixture down the ladder and you are ready to start installing your new fixture.

Installing the New Fixture

If you did pick a fixture generally the same size and shape then probably no other prep work needs to be done. Fixtures over fifty pounds will need extra support added to be screwed into besides the outlet box. Open the box of the new fixture and read the new instructions thoroughly. Climb back up the ladder, having someone help you by holding the fixture if possible. Having someone help support the fixture from below while you connect the wires is very helpful. Connect the wires the same way they were disconnected or if you do not remember, review the instructions that came in the box with the new fixture. After attaching the wires, secure the fixture to the ceiling with the screws or nuts that came in the packaging. This should complete the installation of the new lighting fixture.

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