Almost anyone can replace existing ceiling fixtures with a pendant-style light. All home improvement centres and many big-box stores carry a variety of hanging light fixtures; you're sure to find something that accentuates the decor in your home. The installation process takes less than an hour and requires no special skills or experience.
Disconnect the power in the room you are about to work in. Flip the circuit breaker to the off position and verify that the power is off to the fixture. Alert other people in the building about your project so that they do not restore the power while you are working.
Place the ladder where you can easily reach everything. Place your tools and the new pendant light in a small pail on the ladder's paint shelf. Unscrew the light bulbs in the existing fixture and remove any glass shades.
Remove the two screws on either side of your existing fixture at the ceiling, using the screwdriver that fits the screw, exposing the wiring and electrical box. Remove the electrical tape and wire nuts that connect the fixture's wires to the electrical circuit. Disconnect the wires and set the fixture aside.
Strip 1/2 inch of insulation from the wires on your pendant light by cutting through the coating only and pushing it off the wire with wire cutters or wire strippers.
Twist the exposed end of the black wire to the matching black wire from the electrical box. Screw a wire nut from the light kit onto the merged ends and wrap with electrical tape to protect the connection from corrosion. Repeat this process with the white wires. Look for the box's grounding point, usually a small third screw covered by the fixture, and attach the green wire from the pendant to this point.
Screw the pendant light's mounting plate into the two holes on either side of the box. Set the face plate over the electrical box and mounting plate.
Release the pendant to hang its full length and check its final height. If the light hangs on a chain, adjust the hanging height by removing a link or two with needle-nose pliers.
Fasten the shade over the light socket with the included screws. Install the light bulb.
Restore power to the room by flipping the circuit breaker back to the "on" position and test the light.
- "Home Improvement 1-2-3 Second Edition", Hanging Light Fixtures; 2003
- "Wiring 1-2-3"; Repairing Pendant Fixtures; 2001
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