Understanding Electrical Wiring for Ceiling Light Fixtures
December 14, 2016 by: Dave Rongey
Ceiling Light Fixture Electrical Wiring and Connections: Depending on the age of the home there may be one or more cables found in the ceiling junction box. These cables are used for distributing power to the light fixture, the wall switch, and may provide power to wall receptacle outlets as well.
Wiring Ceiling Light Fixtures
Electrical Question: I have a ceiling fan and light fixture with several wires that I need help with.
- I uninstalled the ceiling fan and light fixture from a bedroom in order to install a flush mount light fixture.
- When I unhooked the ceiling fan I found that there are four different sets of wires coming into the ceiling box.
- There are four black wires, and four white wires, and no ground wires.
- This box is controlled by one light switch, that controlled both the fan and light at the same time.
- My question is how do I hook this up? I have not unhooked any of the wires since I removed the fan. Currently, all black wires are tied together with one white wire tied in also. All other white wires are tied together also.
- There is one extra black wire(the one that is with the white wire tied to the blacks)that was attached to the fan wiring. So in all, there is three wires that were attached to the fan/light fixture, two black wires and one white. I am very confused about this.
- I am sure it is the middle of the circuit wiring. As you can likely tell, I know very little about this and was expecting a simple replacement of the fan.
Thanks for your help.
Background: Alan, a Homeowner from Jackson, MO.
Thanks for your Electrical Wiring Question Alan.
Light Fixture Electrical Wiring and Connections
Application: Wiring a Ceiling Light Fixture.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
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.
Precaution: Identify the circuit breaker for the light fixture, 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.
Ceiling Light Fixture Electrical Wiring Connections
Depending on the age of the home there may be one or more cables found in the ceiling junction box. These cables are used for distributing power to the light fixture, the wall switch, and may provide power to wall receptacle outlets as well.
- The fixture box you are referring to has one 2-wire cable providing the line or power in, two 2-wire cables that take power to other locations and one 2-wire that is used for the switch which explains why you see a white wire attached to the other black wires.
- You will notice that the black wire of this last 2-wire cable was the one that supplied the power for the light fixture. All the remaining white wires are neutrals.
The preceding may not reflect each and every wiring scenario in the same locations. The exact wiring configurations are best identified using a voltage tester to properly identify the electrical wiring, and is best performed by a qualified licensed electrical contractor who will perform the wiring methods in accordance with NEC Article 110.
More about Wiring Light Fixtures
I have provided the following resources that lead to fully detailed information on this website that will assist you with your Light Fixture Electrical Wiring:
Light Switch Wiring
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
Fully explained pictures and wiring diagrams about wiring light switches describing the most common switches starting with photo diagram 1.
This link is helpful as a Homeowner
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!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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