Home Improvement: Using A Hickey To Secure Heavy Ceiling Fixtures

Chandeliers and other heavy light fixtures often use a hickey to secure them in place. Find out how to use a hickey and more with these instructions and tips.

Most ceiling fixtures nowadays are relatively lightweight, so they don't require any special type of installation. However, if you're going to install a chandelier or other type of large, heavy light fixture, then you're going to probably need to use a hickey to make sure it stays in place. There's probably a hickey included with your new light, and you'll need to follow the manufacturer's instructions in order to hang the light correctly. If your new light doesn't have a hickey included in its hardware, then you should visit your local home supply store to purchase one.

What is a hickey? A hickey is a small metal piece that has a hole in its center. It also has threads around the hole. To use it, you must screw it onto the metal stud that hangs from the strap that's over a ceiling electrical box. The holding strength of a hickey is dependent on the strength of the strap, as well as the electrical box.

So, in order to use a hickey to secure a heavy ceiling fixture, you'll need to prepare the area where it is to be installed. To do this, you'll need to first and utmost, shut off the electricity to the existing ceiling light. If there isn't a light installed in the ceiling already, then you'll need to shut off the power to the entire room you're going to install the light in. A rechargeable work light with a halogen bulb makes a great source of temporary light so you can see what you're doing. Once the existing light is removed, make sure that you leave the electrical wires hang out of the box.

Basically, the light will be mounted to an electrical box in the ceiling. If there's an existing light, then you might be able to use the existing box. Be sure that you check the box to make sure you can use a hickey on the stud to hold the weight of a heavy ceiling fixture. If you have your doubts about the holding power of the stud, then it would be a good idea to replace stud and the box.

If there's not an existing ceiling light, then you'll need to have a licensed electrician install a box. Or, if you have the skills, you can install the box yourself. Just be sure that you contact your local codes and permits department before you begin, so you can find out what the specific laws are regarding the wiring.

Keep in mind too, that, in order to use a hickey, you'll need to use an electrical box that has a lighting fixture stud in the middle of it. Therefore, if the existing electrical box doesn't have one, it will need to be replaced with a suitable box.

Once the electrical ceiling box is in place, it's time to finish installing your new light. Again, be sure that you follow the manufacturer's directions in order to install the light correctly with a hickey. Basically, though, you'll need to attach the fixture to the electrical box by screwing on a hickey. It helps to hold the fixture in place because it screws on to the fixture stud.

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