Tips on Hanging a Ceiling Pendant Light From a Chain

Written by anne hirsh
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Tips on Hanging a Ceiling Pendant Light From a Chain
Make sure your chain is in good condition. (chain image by Pefkos from

When hanging a ceiling pendant light, you must pay attention to safety, not only for yourself while hanging the light, but also for the fixture itself and those who will be using it in the future. A chain can be a sturdy way to hang your pendant securely, but only when hung correctly.

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If your pendant did not come with a chain, be very careful to ensure that all connections where the chain meets the pendant and the ceiling are secure. The pendant's weight should be resting entirely on the chain, not the electrical wires. Electircal wires can pull out if too much weight is placed on them. Use quick-links, S-hooks or other commercially constructed hardware rated for the lamp's weight to ensure safe connections.


Before installing the fixture, check the wires carefully along their full length for nicks and cuts in the insulation. If bare wire is allowed to touch the chain when the fixture is on, it can electrify the chain and cause safety hazards. Make sure the power to the light fixture is turned completely off at the breaker before you begin installing the pendant. Double-check to make sure the connections are well away from the chain links before you turn the power back on.


Pendants should hang between 28 and 34 inches above tabletop and counter surfaces when used for task lighting. Pendants are not recommended for general lighting, but if you choose to use one in areas where people walk, the bottom of the pendant should be no less than 6 1/2 feet off the ground. Cut your chain to the proper length using bolt cutters to remove unused links, rather than looping excess chain above the light.


Weave the light's wires loosely through the chain to minimise their appearance, or bind them tightly to the chain with cable ties (also called zip ties) and trim off the excess tie tails. If you are adding your own chain instead of using the chain that came with the fixture, make sure your chain has a coating to minimise discolouration and rust. Decorative chains generally have this coating, but if you are using uncoated chain or are unsure, apply a coating of spray-on car wax to seal the chain and prevent oxidation.

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