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Wiring Connections When Replacing a Light Fixture


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Electrical Wiring Connections for Light Fixtures: Understanding Light Fixture Wiring, Best Practices When Replacing Light Fixtures.

Identifying Light Fixture Wiring.

Electrical Wiring Question: My ceiling electrical box has 2 black wires and 2 white wires, 1 red wire, and two bare copper wires that are banded together partway up the wire with what looks like a strip of metal.

Can you please help me?

This home electrical repairs question came from: Andrea, from Beaverton, Oregon.

Additional Comments: This is a great website I have already learned a lot from just a half an hour of browsing.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical troubleshooting question Andrea.

Replacing a Light Fixture

Understanding Light Fixture Wiring

Application: Ceiling Mounted or Wall Mounted Light Fixture.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a non-aluminum ladder and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and access to the light fixture(s).
Precaution: Identify the lighting circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the circuit wiring.
Notice: Installing additional fixture wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Best Practices When Replacing Light Fixtures

Before replacing a light fixture the electrical wiring connections should be labeled so it is known which wire was connected where. This can be done any number of ways including making a quick drawing and using masking tape to label each wire or set of wires, or taking a picture would be helpful as well.

Electrical Wiring Connections for Light Fixtures

Electrical Circuit Protection
When electrical circuit wiring is installed correctly there will be no danger of an electrical hazard or an electrical fire because when the circuit design is correct it will be protected by the circuit breaker, however incorrect wiring connections will affect the performance of the circuit and will affect anything that is connected to the circuit wiring.

More about Wiring Light Fixtures and Ceiling Fans

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Take the mystery out of ceiling fan wiring. Ceiling Fans are a great way to lower your energy bill and brighten up one of your favorite rooms.

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Step-by-step pictures – Easy wiring diagrams and installation guide – Light and fan switch variations.

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Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.

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Testers to Help Solve Electrical Problems

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Learn How to Wire it Right with my
Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
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Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electrical Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
Electrical Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

» Click here to learn more about Home Electrical Wiring «
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MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC: Electrical Repair, Electrical Wiring, Fixture Wiring, Light Fixture, Lighting







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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Wiring Connections When Replacing a Light Fixture”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Ken,
    It sound like you have created a direct short between the hot and neutral of the circuit, so one pair of wires of one cable is most likely being used for switching. This is best identified using a voltage tester.
    Dave

  2. ken says:

    I’m trying to install a new light fixture in the front hall. Currently the light is activated by two switches (on each end of hall). The NEW fixture has 1 black wire and 1 white wire. The ceiling wires have 2 black and 2 white coming down. The OLD single light has the 2 wires connected separately by a little metal tab.

    I tried connecting the 3 black and 3 white together and attached the metal ground to the green screw. It kept on switching the breaker when I went to turn it back on.

    How do I connect this light so I can still use all switches? Again, 2 black and 2 white in ceiling, 2 switches, new light has 1 black, 1 white, and 1 ground.

    THANKS!