How to install multiple recessed lights

Updated February 21, 2017

Installing recessed lighting on your own is a project that leaves you with a finished look that modernises almost any room. There are multiple aspects that need to be considered beginning with the type of recessed lighting you want to install, down lights or eyeball lights, and ensuring that the wire you are using matches with the existing wiring. Before you begin this project, inspect the wiring to ensure that it has a ground wire and is not fabric insulated. If it is, contact an electrician to inspect it and advise whether you need to replace the wiring or not.

Calculate the amount of watts you can use without using too much power. If you have four existing light fixtures that use light bulbs with 100 watts each, you can safely install new light fixtures that have a combined total of 400 watts. If you plan to install more than what already exists, contact an electrician to determine how much the circuit can handle.

Turn off the circuit power and lock out the panel or circuit so that it cannot be turned back on while you are completing the project.

Drill a hole into the centre of the planned opening according to the manufacturer's template, ensuring the hole has a 1/4-inch opening.

Check for obstructions through the hole with a coat hanger if there is a finished area. If you have an attic above the ceiling, you can check for obstructions visually.

Saw open the ceiling using the measurements that are appropriate for the specific light cans you have and disconnect the power source from the existing fixture.

Pull the cable from the power source to the recessed light fixtures leaving 18 inches of wire hanging from the ceiling. This gives you enough room to work with the cables to wire the new fixtures. If you are working with a ceiling that has a finished area above it, drill holes through the joists and pull the wire through the actual framing. If you have an attic above your ceiling, simply run the wires through the attic.

Wire the power source to the first light with wire pliers and connect the light to the cable that leads to the next light can and continue until you have all lights connected. Cap the connections of each set of wires with wire connectors. There should be three ground wires, three white wires and three black wires.

Mount the light cans according to the manufacturer's instructions and trim the pieces as needed. Finish the project with screwing in the light bulbs and you have completed your recessed lighting project on your own.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Coat hanger
  • Drywall saw
  • Wire pliers
  • Recessed lighting fixtures
  • Light bulbs
  • Electrical cable
  • Wire connectors
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About the Author

Akeia Dixon is a freelance writer who began her professional writing career in 2009 for various websites. She enjoys writing about natural health topics but also loves to research and write about her findings on any subject. She is currently in school studying psychology and sociology.