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The Home Depot

Light Fixture Installation Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Electrical > Light Fixture Installation Guide
Light Fixture Installation Guide

The task of installing a light fixture may appear to be an intimidating one, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is a simple project, provided you have the right guidelines in hand and some time to spare. Learning how to install a light fixture can prove a useful skill in the long run since it is one of the common household repairs that crop up frequently. Electricians might charge you an arm and leg for such simple jobs, simply because it is a small job and they know you are on a deadline or because they know you have exhausted all of your options.

  1. Learning how to install a light fixture can prove a useful skill in the long run as it is one of the common household repairs that crop up frequently.

    1.Electrical Guidelines

    In most cases, permits are not required to install or replace light fixture. But if the local regulations stipulate the installation of energy conserving appliances and fixtures in the area, you might have to seek approval for the kind of fixtures you want to install.


    Light fixtures can broadly be categorized into two—ceiling or overhead fixtures and wall sconce or wall light fixtures. You will be surprised at how the look and feel of a room changes when you just add or replace a light fixture. The tools and materials required will be a light fixture, electrical tape, a multi-head screwdriver, and a voltage tester.

  2. 2.Installing a Ceiling Light Fixture

    The first thing you must do is to remove the old light fixture carefully. Before starting on this, you have to ensure that the power supply to the light fixture has been shut off. Some people choose to just keep the light switch off, but this can be dangerous if someone accidentally turns the switch on. Then you can remove the screws and take down the light fixture. You must use the voltage tester to ensure that the power is indeed turned off. Once you are assured of this, disconnect the wires and extract the wire nuts from the light fixture. If there is a fixture plate, you can remove that also.


    From among all the wires you will see, identify the ground wire first. This is usually a copper wire and is essential to preventing any mishaps in the event of a power failure or malfunction. In older homes, ground wiring may not been present and in this case, you will have to put in one. This will involve wrapping a piece of copper wire around a ground screw and driving it into the threaded hole at the bottom of the metal box that comes with the light fixture. Then, you can prepare the new light fixture for mounting by assembling all the parts that come with it. It is sure to have a mounting cross bar which must be screwed to the electrical box on the ceiling. After this, the wires from the fixture must be connected to the corresponding wires in the electrical box. Then you can test the wires with the voltage testers and close the box if all is well. The last thing is to put in the light bulb and close the fixture. Now, you can switch on the power and check if the light functions well.

  3. 3.Installing a Wall Light Fixture

    This process is also similar to that of installing a ceiling light fixture. You must first take out the existing light fixture and then start installing the new one. The method of checking the wires and connecting them is the same as when handling a ceiling light fixture. After this, any globes or bulbs that may be a part of the light fixture have to be fitted. Then turn the power back on and see if the light fixture is working as it should be.


    Whenever you install a light fixture, you have to stay safe by remembering to cut the power supply to that particular place. Getting electrocuted is not something to be taken lightly and can have serious repercussions. If your home has aluminum wiring or if the light fixture is quite large and bulky, it might be a better idea to call in a professional to do the work for you. They will have experience and better knowledge of handling these tasks and small projects than an amateur.

  5. 4.Score One in a Terrible Economy

    It is OK to do some projects and home improvement episodes yourself but every person must know their limitations. Despite what was said above, if you call a few electricians, you are most likely to find one who is willing to offer you an enticing price―certainly in this ongoing and never ending recession.

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