Electricity: Ceiling Fixtures

Home | DIY Guides | Prev: Lighting Basics | Next: Ceiling Fans

Installing a new light fixture is a great way to transform a drab room into a dazzling one. However, correct wiring and solid installation are critical. This page shows how to hang a fixture safely and securely.

Learn the temperature rating of your existing wires and verify your new light will be compatible. Many lights, especially ceiling-hugging fixtures, require connection to standard 90-degree C-rated wire. Wires installed before 1985 often don’t have insulation that can withstand this higher temperature.

Heavy fixtures require strong electrical boxes. Inspect your existing electrical box and make certain it’s firmly mounted to solid framing, especially for heavier fixtures. If the new fixture is particularly heavy -- more than 25 lbs. (12 kg), consider replacing the old box with a ceiling-fan-rated box.

Key Installation Steps

Avoid trouble by assembling and adjusting the mounting parts before you climb up the ladder. Also, if the new fixture has silver or gold lamp-cord wire, identify the neutral side by feeling for ridges, indentations or square edges; the hot wire will be smooth.

1. Turn off power and test all wires with a voltage detector to make sure the power is off. Disconnect the light fixture wires and remove the old fixture. Inspect and test the box for secure mounting.

2. Install fixture strap and threaded nipple. Lift fixture into position and thread fixture wires through threaded nipple. Attach fixture firmly to ceiling box.

3. Connect the wires after you identify the neutral fixture wire and hot fixture wire. Attach the ground wire around the ground screw and test the fixture before installing canopy.


Are you looking for home electrical items -- such as switches and fuse boxes -- or parts and accessories for ones you already have? Try our dedicated electrical supply pages here:

Lighting Direct (formerly Improvement Direct)

Mounting Systems

(Offset fixture strap, Screw to box, Screw to fixture, Ground screw, Canopy, Locknuts, Cap nuts).

A screw and cap nut assembly holds the fixture to the fixture strap with screws mounted to a two- piece offset fixture strap. Before installation, thread the screws through the offset fixture strap and test-fit the canopy over the screws. The screws should protrude only enough that the cap nuts will hold the fixture firmly against the ceiling.

(Collar screws into threaded pipe, Ring (secures canopy), Locknut, Ground screw, box bracket)
A threaded nipple assembly mounts to the center of a single flat fixture strap. This threaded nipple holds the fixture to the fixture strap and acts as a conduit for the fixture wires into the box.

Recommended Reading

Recommended Products

More | go to top of page

Want to learn more about home electricity? Visit our home electricity library.

If you need home electricity supplies, browse through the products on these pages:

Last modified: Friday, 2020-02-28 15:24 PST