Also called can lights, recessed light housing is available in two basic styles. New construction lights are bulkier and have a frame that can be affixed from above. New construction recessed lights are easy to work with when ample access is available from above, but are impractical when attic access isn’t an option. “Remodel” housing (shown here) is installed from below by wiring the fixture before pushing it in from below. Remodel housing is usually the easier option when replacing old fixtures.
Solar-powered lights are a good option when there’s no electrical source nearby.
For this installation, we are using 12-2 NM electrical cable. The 12 refers to the gauge, or thickness, of the individual wires, or conductors. The 2 indicates there are two insulated conductors (a bare or green-jacketed ground wire is also included). The NM stands for non-metallic, or plastic-jacketed, cable.
Recessed lights are an easy choice to provide efficient lighting while maintaining a neutral profile in new construction or during renovations. Installing recessed lights is easier than one might guess and can be a cost-effective way to update living areas, closets or hallways and can provide a modern touch without busting the budget.
Replacing or upgrading a light switch is a simple and inexpensive DIY project.
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Introduction Step 1: Drill Holes for the Wiring Step 2: Pull the Wire to the Fixture Locations Step 3: Connect the Wire to the Fixtures Step 4: Connect the Switch
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Attach the switch box to a wall stud. The typical height is 42″ from the floor to the bottom of the box. If multiple switches are used, gang the boxes together. Follow electrical code recommendations as to the box area required for the number of switches installed.
Whether hanging over the kitchen table or used as a task or accent light, pendant lights bring style to overhead lighting without spending a fortune.
Use a wire stripper to remove about 1/2″ of insulation from the ends of all the black and white wires. In addition to the incoming and outgoing wires, each box will contain one black and one white fixture wire.
Wrap electrical tape around each of the wire nuts to ensure that the wire splices won’t untwist.
In most cases, the baffle and trim will attach to the housing with metal springs. Pull the springs out to their longest reach, attach to the housing at the compatible holes in the can and slide the baffle and trim upward until the trim rests flush against the ceiling.
Connect the ground wires to each other and to the green ground screw on the switch.
Pull the cable through the drilled holes, working from one end of the circuit to the other. When wiring a series of lights, run a single length of cable from one fixture location to the next, but leave plenty of excess wire to work with at each fixture.
Typically used for hallways and staircases, three-way switches are used in instances where two separate switches control one. Use these step-by-step instructions to install a three-way switch and wire a circuit.
Before you begin, locate your breaker panel and shut off power to the location. Remove the old light fixture and then remove the junction box in the ceiling above it. It is often necessary to use a saw to cut the junction from the joist to which it is attached. Take care to avoid damaging wires, which can sometimes have a short span, making it more challenging to install a new housing.
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Your new lighting should include a paper template which can be used to trace a circle on the ceiling. If replacing an old fixture, the size of the existing hole may dictate the size you select for your new recessed lights. The most common sizes are 4”, 5” or 6” fin diameter.
Before mounting the fixture, temporarily turn the power back on and use a voltage tester to confirm electricity is reaching the bulb socket. Once confirmed, turn the breaker back off until the project is complete.
Recessed or “can” lights can be used as task lighting, accent lighting or to illuminate an entire room. They’re easy to install into existing wiring and the best part, recessed light don’t go out of style.
Strip the insulation from the wire ends and attach each of the black wires to a brass screw on the switch.
Open the attached junction box on the light and clamp the wires protruding from the ceiling to the box, leaving enough run to easily move them as needed. Strip the plastic insulation from the end of the wires and use wire nuts to pair the wires together (usually color coded black, white and a bare ground wire).
Use a drywall saw or hole-cutting drill bit to cut along the traced circle. Although trim will be used to cover this edge, take it slow to provide the smoothest possible cut, especially with older ceilings where plaster or drywall may be brittle and prone to crumbling under stress.
You will also notice some housing is rated “IC” versus “Non-IC”. IC stands for “insulation contact” and has a greatly reduced risk of problems with heat and airflow when placed against insulation. When in doubt, select IC rated housing.
Your recessed lighting is almost ready to go.Select a bulb of approved base size and wattage for your fixture. Halogen and LED bulbs are the most popular choices. Consider wattage and warmth when selecting a bulb appropriate for your use and make sure the bulb is dimmable if using a dimmer switch.
Recessed “high hat” lighting or “can” lights provide excellent illumination and give a room an elegant appearance.
Follow these simple steps whether you want to replace an indoor or outdoor sconce.
When all of the fixtures have been wired, pull the cable from the first light fixture into the switch box and secure it with a box clamp. Pull the power wire from the main circuit into the box. (Make sure the power is shut off, and test the wires with a circuit tester to be safe.)
Connect the wires and secure them with wire nuts (Image 2). Connect the three black (hot) power wires together, the three white (common or neutral) wires together, and the ground wires to each other. Also attach the ground wires to the box’s green ground screw, if provided, or to another metal connection in the box.
wire staples recessed lights wire nuts electrical tape nonmetallic building electrical wire switch box
Once the basic housing is installed, an inner sheath called a “baffle” is used to cover the bare metal can for a polished look. A simple baffe is used most often, but reflective baffles can be used to maximize the light throw or “eyeball” directional covers (shown here) can be used effectively on sloped ceilings or to throw light to a specific area. Trim is used to cover the rim of the housing and the surrounding hole and can help forgive ragged or uneven edges committed during installation.
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Carefully insert the housing in the prepared hole and locate the clips along the edge of the housing. Using a screwdriver, push the clips outward until a click is felt to securely clamp the housing to the ceiling. Once all clips are deployed, gently tug on the housing to make sure it is firmly attached to the ceiling.
Install bulbs in all of the light fixtures, restore the power and test the operation of the switch and fixtures.
At each fixture’s attached junction box, remove a knockout tab with a screwdriver (Image 1) for each of the incoming, and outgoing, cables and pull the cables into the box. Secure the cables with box clamps.
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Introduction Step 1: Select Housing Step 2: Select Baffles and Trim Step 3: Remove Old Fixture and Junction Box Step 4: Measure Hole Step 5: Cut Hole for Can Light Step 6: Connect and Secure Wiring Step 7: Test Power Step 8: Insert and Secure Housing Step 9: Attach Baffle and Trim Step 10: Select a Bulb
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Refer to your wiring plan (Image 1) to determine the most efficient wiring route from fixture to fixture.
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The white wires do not connect to the switch. Twist them together and secure the splice with a wire nut.
Use an auger bit or Forstner bit (Image 2) in a power drill to bore 1” holes for the wiring. A heavy duty right-angle drill makes it easier to work in tight spaces between the ceiling joists. This tool, called a Hole Hawg, is available at most rental centers.
Before beginning any type of electrical project, be sure the power is turned off at the home’s main circuit box. Cover the switch with tape to make sure it doesn’t get turned back on while you are working. Use a circuit tester to ensure that the power is off before you touch any of the electrical wiring.
Follow the “Rule of 8’s” — leave at least 8″ of wire extending out past each junction box, use wire staples to attach the cable to the wood framing within 8″ from the box, and fasten the cable within 8″ from where it extends into the wall.