Adding a new light fixture is one of the easiest ways to give any room a fresh look. Whether you’re replacing an old light, or simply want to install a chandelier, pendant light, wall sconce or track light, there are several simple steps to follow in order to wire the lights and make them work properly.
First, you’ll need to understand how electricity works in your home. You’ll also need to know what types of wires are connected to each light fixture. For the most part, you’ll need to be familiar with white (neutral) and black (hot) wires, as well as bare copper or green ground wires.
Once you’ve gotten all of the wiring for your fixtures, it’s time to install them. Depending on your specific needs, you might need help from someone else in the process. If you’re doing this on your own, however, there are a few basic things that you can do to make the task easier and safer for you.
1. Clean your area
Before you begin any electrical work, you should be sure that you have a clean working area. This means that you should clear away any debris from the surface where you’ll be working, as well as from the area surrounding the area where you’ll be hanging your new lights. This will ensure that you can work safely and efficiently without any hazards.
2. Cut off the power
Before attempting any electrical work, you’ll need to cut off the electricity. You can do this by turning off the breaker at the main electrical panel in your home. This will prevent any potential damage or injury to you or anyone in the area where you’re working.
3. Remove the existing ceiling fixture
Before installing a new light, you’ll need to remove the existing light. This is typically a relatively simple process and involves simply unscrewing the light from its mounting bracket, which will usually come off with the use of a screwdriver.
4. Unmount the wires
After you’ve removed the existing light, be sure to take the time to disengage the wires from their plastic caps. You should see two wires in each cap – one coming from the light and the other from your house’s wiring circuit.
5. Test the connection
When you’ve completed this step, it’s time to check the connections between your new lights and the existing ones. You’ll need a non-contact voltage detector to check the wires in your ceiling for any signs of potential problems.
6. Identify the wires in the box
If your light has been installed with lamp-style cord, you’ll probably be using white (neutral) and black (hot) wiring. If you’re not sure, however, a quick glance at the wires in your electrical box should reveal the color codes.
You can easily find these colored wires in your electrical box by looking for silver conductors, writing, squared corners or ribs and indentations on the insulation. If you have trouble identifying the wires, ask an electrician to help.