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Before You Begin

Replacing an outdated light fixture with a newer, more energy-efficient model can have a dramatic impact in any space. Learn how to install a light fixture, including can lights, dimmer switches and ceiling lights from the pros at Batteries Plus.

Tools You May Need

The tools you'll need when installing a new light fixture will vary based on the type of fixture and where you're planning to install it. Here's a basic overview of the types of tools you may need to have on hand:

  •   Voltage detector
  •   Screwdriver
  •   Wire cutters/strippers
  •   Work light or flashlight
  •   Wire nuts
  •   Pliers

Keep in mind your project may require different tools. Be sure to always consult the instruction manual to determine if you will need any tools in addition to the ones listed above.

How to Install a Dimmer Switch

Instead of simply turning lights off and on, get a custom lighting experience by installing a dimmer switch. Follow these steps to install a dimmer switch:

  1. Turn off the power by shutting it off at the main electrical panel. You should never begin electrical work without first verifying the power has been shut off. You can check to see that it is off with a non-contact voltage tester.
  2. After cutting off power to the circuit breaker, remove the screws securing the existing wall plate. Then, disconnect all wires to the old switch.
  3. Following the instructions provided with the dimmer switch, install the new dimmer and connect the wires with a grounding clip. You may need to remove 3/4" of casing from the ends of the wires first.
  4. Tuck the wires back inside the electrical box to replace the wall plate. Tighten the screws that hold the dimmer switch to the electrical box.
  5. Verify your new dimmer switch works by turning the power to the circuit breaker back on.

How to Install a Light Fixture

  1. Turn off Power

    Start by shutting off the power at the main electrical panel. Don't forget to verify it is shut off with a non-contact voltage tester.

  2. Connect Wires

    Standard light fixture boxes will have three wires:

    •   White (neutral)
    •   Black (current)
    •   Copper (ground)

    Wires may either be wrapped around the screws or directly connected with wire nuts. In either instance, expose approximately 3/4" of sheathing from the wires with a wire stripper.

    If you're using the screw connection method, bend the wires into a U-shape, then wrap them around the screw. Finally, tighten the screw to secure the wires. Make sure you attach the white wire to the silver screw, the copper wire to the green screw and the black wire to the gold screw.

    If you're using the wire-to-wire connection method, secure like-colored wires together. Then, use wire nuts to secure them.

  3. Attach the Fixture to the Box

    Attach the light fixture to the mounting box, making sure you don't over-tighten the screws. Then, install a new bulb, turn the breaker back on and test the light.

How to Install a Ceiling Light

  1. After turning the power off from the circuit breaker, remove the cover of the old light and take out the bulbs.
  2. Unscrew the light fixture base and take a picture of the wire connections for future reference.
  3. Screw the base plate of the new light fixture into the electrical box. Make sure the wires are still accessible.
  4. Following the instructions provided with your new light fixture, connect the wires together. Consider enlisting the help of a friend to hold the fixture while you're connecting the wires.
  5. Following the directions that came with the light fixture, attach the fixture to the ceiling and add new bulbs.
  6. Before putting the cover on the fixture, test the light by turning the power back on.

Now that you're ready to test your new lighting fixture, find out how to choose the right light bulb to improve performance and energy efficiency. Then, add the finishing touches to your new light fixture by shopping the array of LED bulbs at Batteries Plus.