Introduction: Change a Light Fixture.
Are you tired of the boring light fixtures that came with your home? Do you need a fresh new look? Is there an area of your home that needs more or different light?
No problems, just change the lights. Its really a very basic and easy task to accomplish and requires very few tools. You can do it yourself in just a few minutes without hiring anybody.
The only tool I used here was a screwdriver.
Step 1: Safety First
Find your electrical panel and identify the breaker that controls the circuit that the light you're changing is on. They should be marked on the label that's probably on the door. If not you might enlist a friend to stand in the room and holler when the lights go out while you flip breakers one at a time. Then go and double check that the light doesn't have power any more.
You can see the label in my picture says Kit - Util Rm so that's the first one I tried. Bingo no more juice.
Some people will tell you all you have to do is turn the light switch off but don't listen to them. Tell them that they can change it for you if they want but that you're going to make sure. Seriously, some circuits are wired so that there is still electricity in the wiring box even though you turn the light switch off. Unless you know what you're doing its the only safe way. Actually its just the only safe way.
Step 2: Remove the Old Light.
First loosen the three little thumbscrews around the edges of the globe while supporting the globe. It should come right off.
Set the globe aside and look for the screws that hold the fixture to the ceiling box. I had to take the insulation down from this one to really see them. All I had to do was loosen these with a screwdriver then twist the fixture to release it from the ceiling.
Now you can pull it down to expose the wiring. You've got the breaker off right?
Unscrew the wire nuts from the wire connections and pull the wires that go to the light away from the house wiring. Try to leave the other wires together to make it easier to put everything back.
Now you should be able to remove the old fixture completely.
Step 3: Install the New Light.
My new light didn't match up with the mounting screws in the ceiling box so I had to go buy a mounting adapter.
This little plate had a bunch of holes in it that will match up with most any light. You just have to match up the screws in the ceiling box to one set of holes and the mounting holes in the light to another set. You want threaded holes in the bar to match to the light. It will come with 6/32 size screws that you will thread partially into the holes that match up with the mounting holes in your light.
Fasten the bar to the ceiling box using the screws that were already there. You need to attach the ground wire to the green screw that came with the bar making sure that you have an end to attach to the ground wire from the new light.
Now we have to wire up the new light. Match the black wires with the black house wires and wire nut them together. If the wires on the light are stranded, (made up of lots of little strands inside an insulated coating, as opposed to one solid wire inside an insulated coating like you're house wires,) you want to hold the stranded wire so that it sticks out just a little bit and goes into the wire nut first. See the picture if that wasn't a clear statement. Do the same with the white wires. You might have to use a bigger wire nut if there are more white house wires. Just make sure you hook up all the wires exactly the same as they were before you took the old light down. Take pictures or mark them with tape before you unhook them if you need to. Hook up the ground wires and then stuff all the excess wires up into the ceiling box. You just need to get enough up in there to make sure that you're pretty new light snugs up tight to the ceiling.
Slip the new light over the heads of the screws hanging down, twist the light a quarter turn or so to catch the keyholes and tighten the screws just tight enough to snug the light up to the ceiling.
Now install the light bulbs. Flip the breaker back on and turn the light switch on. You should have light! If the light doesn't come on you need to recheck your wires. Make sure that none of them slipped out before you got the wire nuts tight.
Put the globe or cover back on and pat yourself on the back. Go get a steak dinner or something with all the money you saved by not hiring someone else to do this. If you don't like steak you can always send me a check. (Just kidding)