Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How to Install a New Light

I think in my past life I was an electrician. Seriously. I don't remember learning from my dad how to work with wiring things, it just feels like I've always done it and enjoyed doing it. It no longer surprises my husband to come home and find a new light or ceiling fan up when I find one for a great deal!

So today I am sharing...

We have been in the process of painting and updating the outside of our home and in this tutorial I am replacing the light on our back porch. The good thing is that whether you are replacing a light outside or inside, on the wall or the ceiling, it's the same steps.
These are the tools that you will need for replacing a light.
The new light, the hardware that came with the light and a drill {or screwdriver}. Photo bombing chocolate lab not required.
My project also required our brad nailer and the air compressor. My parents built the house in 1993 and at that time, the home builder didn't take in to consideration that, at some point, future homeowners might want to upgrade certain parts of the house, like the lighting.
The space that the old light was in was too small for the new light I bought. Luckily it's an easy fix. But first, make sure the breaker that controls the light you are working on is turned off. I usually have one of my daughters watch the light while the other stands halfway between us to tell me when the other yells that the light is off. Now you can remove the old light and the bracket that is attached to the wall.
My husband had already removed our old light when we were painting the house and he just capped the wires off until we could get a new light up.
The bracket should be attached to a box (usually blue) that the wires are coming out of. Challenge #2 with our house, I'm pretty sure the back porch light was an after thought. No box, just a hole in the wall with wires coming out. Thank goodness Challenge #1 will take care of #2!

My ever growing scrap pile was the answer to my problems. I cut two pieces of the trim we used for the French doors to fit in the space between the window trim and the door trim and nailed them in using the brad nailer. I made sure to check which way the wire was coming through the hole before nailing.

Now is the point where you would line up the holes in your bracket to the holes of the electrical box and screw them in. Since there is no box on this light, I took the wood screws that were used on the bracket from the old light and used them to screw the new bracket to the wood I just nailed up to fill the gap between the wall and the light base.

As I was climbing down the step ladder at this point I realized I had a captive audience that couldn't wait to get back outside. (Please pardon the nose prints! My new project is finding a way to keep them from scratching up the freshly painted doors.)

Next up for the light is hooking up the wires! I promise it is easy. When connecting the wires always remember: White always goes to white, black always goes to black and the bare copper wire coming from the light is always the ground wire that will attach to the green wire coming from the wall and/or the green screw on the bracket. Twist the matching wires together clockwise (you may need to trim the wire if too long or remove some of the plastic coating on the wires) and then take the wire nut (plastic cap item) and insert the wires into it and twist clockwise until tight.

Now push the wires back in to the electrical box and put the mounting screw(s) through the holes on the light and use the provided cap to tighten. Before you tighten it down completely take a second and make sure that it looks level and straight. If it does, tighten that baby down and give yourself a pat on the back!!

Go back and flip the breaker back on and go test out your new light. Stand back and say a few choice words in frustration when your light doesn't work...because you turned on the wrong light switch!

Wasn't that easy?! Now there is nothing stopping you from getting rid of those tired, outdated lights you avoid looking at.

In case you were wondering, this is the brand and stock number of the light I used from Lowe's. There are two sizes, I went with the smaller version that was $29.88 (?). It will go with the new cedar patio cover we are putting up that will have a galvanized roof (squeal!!). I will definitely be taking photos of that project to share with you!

If I missed a step or if you have a question, leave me  comment and I will get right back to you!

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