Take Control of Lighting In Your Home

As self-reliant homeowners ourselves, we understand the desire to tackle as many projects around the house as possible. But even we accept our limitations when it comes to electrical work.

After all, one misstep could lead to serious injuries, property damage, or even death.

But here’s the good news: If you like rolling up your sleeves, there are some electrical jobs (like installing light fixtures) that you’re likely perfectly capable of tackling—provided you have the right guidance.

And that’s where we come in. At Frontdoor®, we’re focused on ensuring homeowners have the tools, knowledge, and resources necessary to tackle projects around the home without spending unnecessary costs on technicians.

If you have a light fixture to install, read on!

Steps For Installing A Light Fixture

When it comes to replacing an existing light fixture that you don’t need to run new writing for, you can likely manage the installation yourself! Here are the most important steps to follow:

1. Cut Power To The Circuit

The most important step in any electrical work is to turn off power to your circuit from the circuit breaker.

In a home where the circuit breaker has been well-labeled, you can probably tell exactly which flip to switch based on the room you’re working in.

If you’re unsure which circuit you’re working on, you can use one of two methods to ensure it’s turned off:

1. Turn off all of the breakers. This would mean you’ll need to work during daylight hours or bring in battery-powered lighting.

2. Guess and check. Working through one breaker at a time, check to see if the power for the light fixture turns off. Tip: It helps to have someone in the room with the light fixture while you’re at the breaker box. They can call to you to let you know when you’ve hit the correct breaker.

2. Remove The Old Fixture

Once the power is off, you can remove the old light fixture without fear of harming yourself or others.

Examine the fixture’s canopy to determine how it is held against the ceiling. The most likely scenarios:

  • A visible screw

  • A screw-on ring

  • A similar fastener that may be hidden or less obvious

Whatever is holding up the fixture, undo it to expose the wiring above the canopy. You should see three wires connected to other wires with twist-on connectors:

  • A black wire

  • A white wire

  • A green or copper wire

Remove the twist-on connectors and set the old fixture canopy aside.

3. Install The New Bracket Or Faceplate

Depending on your fixture’s installation instructions, you may need to install a new bracket or base plate on the electrical box.

Be sure to read your fixture’s instructions. If the fixture comes with a new bracket or base plate, install it now by following the directions. This mounting hardware is essential for properly installing your fixture.

4. Wire Up The New Fixture

Here’s how to properly wire your new fixture:

  1. Find the exposed ends of the wires in your new fixture.
  2. Twist them together with the exposed ends of wires in your ceiling and so that the colors match. Connect black to black, white to white, and green/bare to green/bare.
  3. Secure them with wire connectors.
  4. Look for a ground wire in your electrical box. If you don’t have one, connect the ground wire in your fixture to the green ground screen attached to your mounting bracket or plate.

5. Secure The New Fixture

This next step is relatively straightforward: Hold the fixture against the ceiling (having a friend at this step is helpful!) and use screws, a screw-on ring, or stock fasteners to secure it in place.

Pro Tip: If your fixture has a pull chain, now is the time to get it to the right length. Tuck express chain or cord into the canopy before securing your fixture.

6. Restore Power to the Circuit

For your final step, restore the power at the breaker box. If the light fixture doesn’t turn on, check the black and white wires. In most cases, these simply aren’t connected correctly.

To check these wires, run through the steps again!

Note: These DIY tips are for informational purposes only. Consult a professional for additional support and information.

Find Expert Assistance for Your Light Fixture Installation (And More)

If you still need help with your light fixture installation, download the Frontdoor App to video chat with an expert in real-time! Our team members can help you figure out the best process for your home.

Download our app today!

To dig into more topics, explore the rest of our How-to Tips for time-saving home repair and maintenance checklists.

Frontdoor assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.