Replacing A Light Fixture

Replacing a light fixture is a relatively easy procedure. By following a few simple directions and safety precautions, anyone can perform common household maintenance.

Common home repairs can be made in your house quite easily. You, requiring only minimal time and effort, can perform the maintenance required. After being presented with a sound method of repair, the necessary tools and materials, and a block of free time, your handiwork can progress. After all, it's expensive to hire a professional and you have to wait until they can fit you in. Why not take the initiative and fix small problems yourself. Anyone can carry out minor home maintenance safely when following the correct procedures.

Replacing a light fixture, whether it is mounted on a wall or ceiling, is one of the simplest forms of home electrical repairs that can be performed. Light fixtures generally only have two wires. These wires are attached to the circuit wires using twist-on wire nuts. It doesn't get much easier than that! However, there are some facts you will need to know before proceeding with any type of electrical repair.

Electricity flows through your home by means of a network of wires. This system includes electrical circuits, each one containing a "hot" wire, predominantly black in color, and another wire, typically white. The "hot" wire allows electricity to progress outward from the main service panel. The neutral wire transports electrical current back to the source. Electrical maintenance is performed safely only if the power to the wires you are working with is terminated. To do this, locate the main service panel. It is a rectangular, metal box connected to the entry pipe. An entry pipe is positioned close to your outdoor electrical meter and runs into your home, usually ending in a basement. This pipe transports all of the wires through the outside wall and into your home. You can follow the entry pipe to find your main service panel. After the main panel is located, you need to shut off the power to the wires you will need to use. If your main panel contains circuit breakers, simply switch the breaker managing the wires off. If your home has an older wiring system, fuses will be located in the main panel. Detect which fuse controls the wires and unscrew it, handling only the protected outer rim. If the main service panel houses cartridge fuses, open the panel and remove any fuses with only one hand. If the cartridge fuses are attached with clips, remove them using a fuse puller. If they are encased within a block, hold the block handle and yank out.

Before you begin replacing your light fixture, check the light bulb to make sure it isn't just loose or burnt out. Collect the following items for the repair: wire nuts, circuit tester, continuity tester, screwdriver, and a new light fixture. Make sure your replacement fixture has the same markings as the existing one. Another helpful hint is to choose a new fixture with a base either the same width or wider. This avoids the probability of having to repair the ceiling area around the fixture afterwards. Take the following steps to replace your light fixture:

1.) Remove the glass or plastic light housing by loosening the screws.

2.) Detach the fixture by removing the mounting screws or gently twisting it until it becomes freed.

3.) Without allowing the wires to touch, unscrew the wire nuts. Shocks and fire occur when the "hot" and neutral wires are allowed to intersect or when "hot" wires touch metal.

4.) Test for any electrical current with a circuit tester. Place one probe on the black or neutral wire and the other to the metal ceiling box. Turn on the light switch like you normally would and repeat the test. As long as the circuit tester does not light up at all, you can proceed safely.

5.) Disentangle the wires and detach the fixture base.

6.) Using a continuity tester, connect the alligator clip to the black wire and position the probe on the metal contact tab, located inside the area where a light bulb would be placed. As long as the continuity tester does not light up at any time, continue with your repair.

7.) Install your new fixture according to the manufacturer's directions.

8.) To hook the electrical system back into the fixture, twist copper fibers of the black fixture wire together and connect it to the black circuit wire using a wire nut. Do the same to the copper strands of white fixture wire, attaching them to the white circuit wire.

9.) Fold up the wires carefully and raise the light fixture so it is level to the ceiling box.

10.) Bolt in the mounting screws and tighten them.

11.) Finally, screw in a new light bulb and attach the new light casing.

Electrical maintenance performed by an electrician is expensive. Following the correct safety procedures and instructions will allow you the luxury of completing common household repairs on your own. Think of the money you would save!

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