How to Install a Floodlight

Written by michael logan
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How to Install a Floodlight
Outdoor floodlights light up your home at night (Photo by Chance Agrella)

A floodlight is a useful addition to any home. It lights up a large area and, with the use of timers, a photoelectric switch or motion detector, adds a measure of safety to walks and driveways. Installing a new floodlight where a fixture already exists is easy, will not take more than a half-hour and will not break your budget. Add a little more time and just a few more dollars, and you can install a floodlight wherever you need one.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Noncontact voltage tester
  • Wire nuts
  • New bulbs

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  1. 1

    Turn off the circuit breaker supplying the light fixture. Remove the bulb or bulbs from the existing fixture, and unfasten the nuts holding it in place. With the noncontact voltage tester, verify that the power is off.

  2. 2

    Unfasten the wire nuts holding the fixture wires to the wires inside the box. Unwind the fixture wires from the house wiring, and remove the old fixture.

  3. 3

    Fasten the ground wire first. Hold the stripped end of the fixture ground wire with the house ground wire, and twist them together. Add a wire nut to cap the connection.

  4. 4

    Connect the white neutral wire. Place the fixture neutral wire and the house neutral wire together, and twist them. Add a wire nut to cap the connection. If two neutrals are in the fixture, they connect together.

  5. 5

    Connect the hot wire or wires to the house wiring. The hot wire should be black or any colour but white, green or bare. Cap the connection with a wire nut.

  6. 6

    Attach the fixture to the box, making sure that any weatherproof seals are in place. Make the connections tight, and insert bulbs to complete the installation.

  7. 7

    Turn the power on, and flip the switch. The light or lights should turn on.

Tips and warnings

  • Connecting the wires should be fairly straightforward. Connect the same wires to the new fixture as were connected before. Motion detectors and photoelectric sensors for dusk-to-dawn timers are usually incorporated into the internal wiring of the floodlight.
  • Doing electrical work may expose you to dangerous electrical current. Always turn off the power before beginning, verify that the power is off by testing and do not turn the power on until you are ready to test the installation.
  • Although this installation is simple enough for any beginner to accomplish safely, if you are unsure or do not feel confident in your ability, hire a licensed electrician to do the work.
  • Always use tools designed specifically for electrical work when working on your home's wiring.

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