Jun 15 , 2020

How to Replace a Light Fixture

Electrical Fixtures Overview: Solving Unanticipated Electrical Problems

Replacing a light fixture is one of those DIY jobs that’s theoretically quick and simple, but often becomes a three-hour series of problems.

So we talked with two of our master electricians. They’ve seen — and solved — all those frustrations and offered these tips to help DIYers through the job quicker and safer. We won’t show you here, but this article will walk you through step-by-step on how to hang a ceiling light fixture.

Plus, learn the most common electrical code mistakes DIYers make:

Family HandymanThe Most Common National Electric Code Violations DIYers Make
These are the electrical codes DIYers (and pros) mess up most often. Many problems stem from new additions to the National Electrical Code (NEC), while some common mistakes violate codes that have been on the books for years. These tips clear up the confusion and help you pass an electrical inspection.

Flipping the Breaker isn’t Enough

  • Even after you turn off the breaker that controls the light’s circuit, you can still get shocked. How? Some junction boxes contain wiring from multiple circuits.
    • Pro tip: So even if you cut the power to the light fixture, there may still be live wires in the junction box.
  • To be safe, check all the wires in the box with a non-contact voltage detector before you disconnect any wires.
  • Just touch each wire’s insulation with the tester. If the light glows, the wire is live.
    • Pro tip: You don’t have to actually touch a bare wire to check for voltage with this detector. Holding the tip on or close to the wire’s insulation is enough.

voltage tester circuit pen

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