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Electrical Wire and Cable

How to Add a Ceiling Light Fixture

Installing Wiring for a Ceiling Light Fixture: The process of installing the electrical wiring will depend largely on the access to the area. In some cases the electrical circuit wiring may be extended from an existing ceiling fixture and fished to the location of the new light fixture.

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Wiring a Ceiling Light Fixture
Electrical Question: In the new homes in this area they no longer install an overhead light in the bedrooms.

Thank you.

This electrical wiring question came from: Ed, from Sacramento, California.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Ed.

Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
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 or power source, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional fixture wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Installing Wiring for a Ceiling Light Fixture

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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
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The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

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The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

6 Responses to “How to Add a Ceiling Light Fixture”
  1. Kathy cheramie says:

    How do you install pendant lights on the first floor which has another room on top of it on the second floor. It does not have an attic above the ceiling.

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Kathy,
    When an attic is not above the ceiling then the method of installing the electrical wiring will depend on the location for the new light fixture and where the power source is that will be used. Fishing wiring through a ceiling joist is possible but tricky. Another option is to use surface wire channel or molding. At times the portions of the ceiling sheet rock may need to be opened to provide access for concealed wiring to be installed.

  3. dusty says:

    How to run wires on first floor ceiling of two story home.

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Dusty,
    There are a few options for installing wiring for a first floor ceiling:
    Surface Wiremold or other electrical chase molding – which is an approved conduit and boxes for surface electrical wiring.
    Fishing electrical NM or BX type cable through the ceiling joist framing.
    The method would depend on the structural material, available access, local electrical codes, and the type of light fixture that is to be installed.

  5. Lucas says:

    How long does it take to install 4 ceiling light fixture plus wiring in the 2nd floor normally, given that I used a stand up lamp for all four of my bedrooms?

    The electrician I hired took 17 hours to complete the task. He was having a lot of difficulty getting the box behind the receptacles and switches out of the drywall because it was nailed onto the stud.

    Also when he placed the switch back into the drywall, all of them is slanted toward one side, he claims it is screw onto on side of the stud, which causing it to pull toward that side only and there is no way around it.

  6. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Lucas,
    The time that it will take to install electrical wiring for ceiling light fixtures or any given task will depend on a few factors including the level of experience and qualifications of the electrician, the type of construction of the home, and the available access to the electrical wiring and access to the project area.
    Typically, the frame of switches and outlet receptacles are designed so they may be adjusted to a point. The installation of electrical boxes onto existing framing will have a direct affect on the positioning as well, and although some shimming to compensate and create a level position can be done that too can be challenging if the framing is really off level. Most qualified electricians find a way to produce a first class job for our customers, and I would encourage you to discuss your questions with the installer.
    I hope this helps,