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How to Remove Recessed Lighting With Clips

Updated February 21, 2017

Recessed lighting is installed in homes to be used as general lighting, task lighting, accent lighting and other specialised lighting effects based upon the trim installed in the fixture. Sometimes, a recessed can must be removed from the ceiling either for remodelling or replacing the light fixture. Removing a recessed light with clips is possible without having to access the attic.

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  1. Turn off the circuit supplying electricity to the recessed lights by turning off the breaker at the main panel.

  2. Test the electrical circuit to verify it has been disconnected. Use a two-prong electrical tester and insert one of the prongs into the recessed light socket and touch the other prong to the metal of the light fixture. If the electrical circuit has been disconnected, your light tester will not turn on. Remove the light trim by hand.

  3. Remove the recessed light fixture. Inside the recessed light are four black clips that hold the fixture into the ceiling, and each clip has a small slot. Insert a flathead screwdriver into the slot and push up toward the ceiling; this will release the clip and allow the recessed light fixture to be removed from the ceiling.

  4. Pull the recessed fixture from the ceiling to access the electrical junction box attached to the fixture. Press your thumb on the tab that holds the cover onto the junction box to release it.

  5. Disconnect the wires inside the junction box. Untwist all wire connectors holding all the wires together and pull the cable from the junction box. This allows the recessed light to be completely removed

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Things You'll Need

  • Electrical tester
  • Flathead screwdriver

About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.

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