How to Wire a Light From a Can

How to Wire a Light From a Can

A can light is a recessed lighting fixture that fits in a hole in the ceiling and emits a downward cone of bright white light. These fixtures are ideal for kitchens, bathrooms and other areas where you need a lot of light to illuminate work spaces or other features. Whether you’re installing one of these lights yourself or hiring an electrician to do it, it’s important to know how to wire them so that they’ll work properly when they’re installed.

How to Wire a Canlight

The first step in wiring a canlight is to shut off power at the breaker, and then connect junction box wires to the light fixture’s wiring. There are a number of ways to do this, but the most common method is to wrap the fixture’s wiring around screws in the junction box and then secure it with wire nuts.

How to Wire a canlight

Some recessed cans come with push-wire connectors, making it easy to wire them. These connections are usually made in a series, so you may need to make pigtails for the hot and neutral wires of each fixture.

Pigtails are especially useful if you plan to run multiple canlights in a row. They ensure that the current from a burnt out light doesn’t flow through the wires connecting the next light in the series, which could cause serious damage or even electrocution.

To pigtail a light from a can, remove the hot and neutral wires from the fixture’s wiring and cut another white and black wire 3 inches long. Then, use a pair of pliers to twist the ends of both wires together. Once the wires are joined, use a plastic wire nut to close the connection.

How to Wire a Powered Canlight

For power, you’ll need to find a receptacle or switch box that has a “hot” wire on a circuit suitable for the wattage of your new canlights. This circuit typically is a 20-amp, dedicated circuit that’s used to run small appliances such as microwave ovens or coffee makers, or other household electronics.

In addition, you’ll need to find a switch box or receptacle that has the appropriate voltage rating for your canlights (see chart below). If there isn’t one of these in the circuit, you’ll need to add a fused 15-amp circuit breaker.

Depending on the type of receptacle or switch box you have, there may be two wires that go into it. These wires are generally labeled white, black or red.

Once you have these wires, you’ll need to attach them to the light fixture and the wires that you have snagged from your wall and ceiling. You can use a pair of wire strippers to expose the exposed ends of the wires and then twist them together, or you can use a small drill bit to pierce a hole in the wall and ceiling near the light location.

Then, run the white, black or red wires to the corresponding screw connections on the junction box. Alternatively, you can twist the two like-colored wires to each other and then clinch them with wire nuts.

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