From time to time every one of us wants to update the look of their home, to bring something different into the traditional atmosphere of the everyday surroundings. New lights can help, because they add fine style and simply provide better illumination. Feeling hesitant about working with electricity? Take a dip breath and… Relax! Switching out old fixtures is absolutely safe. In most cases, you simply attach the new fixture to the existing wires.
Tools you will need:
- Adjustable wrench
- A nut driver
- Wire stripper
- Electrical wire tester
- Close-quarter hacksaw (if removing an old hanging bar)
Safety Warning: always turn the power off at the main electrical panel. Never attempt to work on live wires. If new wiring is required, consult a licensed electrician or local authorities for code requirements.
Chandelier fixture brace: the average electrical box supports up to 50 pounds; therefore, chandeliers over 50 pounds require a special heavy fixture brace.
Turn off electricity in the room.
On the electrical panel of your house or apartment switch off the circuit breaker for the room where you’ll be working. This is a vital first step to ensure a safe installation.
Make sure that the power is off.
Turn the light in the room on and then off a few times to confirm that there’s no electricity in this room.
Unscrew and lower the old fixture’s canopy (the bowl-shaped disk against the ceiling) to access the electrical box. If the power is off, use a wire tester and check that each electrical wire is not powered.
Remove the old electrical box (Skip this step if you’re installing your chandelier in a new position).
Using the screwdrivers, unscrew the old electrical box, loosen and slip out the cable connector.
If there are no screws, the box is probably nailed to a joist. Use a flat bar to pry the box free.
If it is attached to a metal hanger bar, cut the bar in two, remove the pieces and discard them.
Install the fixture brace.
Take the fan brace from its box and spin the hexagonal bar until it is at its shortest length. Then slip the brace through the ceiling hole and set it so that both of its feet are resting on top of the drywall or plaster.
Spin the hexagonal brace by hand; increase the length until you feel its sharp prongs dig into the joists. Using the adjustable wrench, tighten a bit with a few more turns.
Note: Do not overtighten the brace, since it can cause nails to pop in the drywall below the joists.
Preparing the new electrical box.
Use a slotted screwdriver to pry one of the pre-punched knockout plugs from the side of the metal electrical box that comes with the fixture brace. If there are no cable connectors, fasten a nonmetallic one into the knockout hole. Next, holding the box close to the ceiling, feed about 6 inches of the cable through the cable connector and tighten the connector screws to lock the cable in place. Ensure that the connector doesn’t pinch the wires.
Installing the new electrical box.
Now it’s time to install the electrical box. The fixture brace should include a U-bolt, supporting metal flange and hex nuts. Slip the U-bolt over the fan brace and the metal flange onto the threaded ends of the bolt. Thread the nuts onto each side of the U-bolt and tighten each to lock it in position.
After that, align the two holes in the top of the electrical box with the threaded ends of the bolt. Attach the electrical box; secure it to the U-bolt with two hex nuts.
Connect the wires.
Remove any shades from the chandelier. Measure and cut the wires as needed and remove any extra chain links. Thread the nipple into the chain holder at the top of the chandelier and then into the mounting bracket. Feed the chandelier wires through the nipple and attach the chandelier’s mounting bracket to the electrical box through the holes in the box housing.
Begin by wrapping the copper ground wire tightly around the grounding screw, and then tightening the screw. Then connect the end of the wire to the ground wire of the chandelier. Strip off about half an inch of insulation to expose chandelier’s wiring. With a twist-on connector join the chandelier’s white wire to the cable’s white wire. Repeat with black wires.
Attaching the chandelier.
Carefully fold and tuck the wires up into the electrical box. Mount the chandelier; secure it to the ceiling. Install the bulbs, switch on the power and test the chandelier. If there’s no light, it means you may have connected the wrong wires. Call an electrician if you can’t get the chandelier to work yourself.