How to Extend a Light Socket

Updated February 21, 2017

If you've decided that you just don't have enough light in a room, you can change the location of a light socket by extending it. This requires the installation of an extra bit of wire to move the light socket to your chosen location. A fixture called a junction box holds the connection between the original light socket wire and the extension.

Turn off the electricity for the light socket that you will be extending at the main circuit breaker.

Remove the light bulb and shade, if present, from the light. Loosen the screws holding the light cover plate in place on the ceiling.

Locate the terminals on the light socket. The two wires connected to the socket terminals will be coloured black (live) and white (neutral). Test the terminals with a voltmeter to make sure the electricity has been cut. The meter should read "0" when the terminals are touched with the voltmeter probes.

Loosen the terminals with a screwdriver. Pull off the terminal wires with a pair of needle-nose pliers. The socket should now be able to be detached from the light socket box.

Remove the light socket box from the ceiling or wall by unscrewing the box from the wall stud or metal connector.

Mark a hole in the ceiling or wall where you want to extend the light socket. Hold the light box so it is centred around the hole. Trace around the light box with a pencil.

Cut out the outline of the light box with a keyhole saw or jigsaw with cutting blade.

Mount a junction box in the space where the light socket was previously mounted. Secure to the nearest stud or ceiling joist. Insert the end of the old light wire into the junction box after knocking out one of the wire holes.

Knock out the other hole in the junction box. Run wire through the opening in the junction box and over to the new hole for the socket.

Connect the white, black and copper wires from the old and new wires in the junction box. Secure the ends with wire nuts. Wrap electrical tape around the end of the nuts and onto the wires so the nuts stay secure. Gently press the wires into the junction box. Press the lid of the junction box into place and secure with screws.

Knock out one of the holes in the light socket fixture. Insert the extended wire into the fixture through the hole. Mount the fixture in place on the ceiling joist or wall stud.

Strip off the last inch of the wires with a pair of wire strippers. Slip the cover plate for the light over the wires and secure in place on the light box.

Reconnect the white and black wires to the terminals on the light socket. Connect the copper wire to the green terminal on the light socket or to the grounding screw in the box.

Reconnect the socket to the light box fixture and secure with screws.

Replace the light cover and bulb.

Restore the electricity to the light socket. Turn on the switch and make sure that the light is working correctly.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Electrical tape
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Voltmeter
  • Keyhole saw
  • Jigsaw and cutting blade
  • Junction box
  • Home wiring
  • Wire strippers
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About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.