Understanding Electrical Wiring for Ceiling Light Fixtures
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.
- Circuit Wiring
- For more information about Electrical Wiring
- Electrical Wiring
Home electrical wiring projects with pictures and wiring diagrams.
This link is helpful as a Homeowner
The following may also be helpful for you:
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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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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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.
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The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
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I hired a general contractor to do some painting and to also install a light fixture from my 2-story ceiling. Now that the job is done, I noticed that the ground wire for the fixture is tied off to the chain (5-6 links below ceiling height) rather than run up through the ceiling plate of the light. Not a very professional job in my opinion. But my question is, is this installation safe, or do I need to call them back out to fix it? Thanks for your advice!
I was changing an old ceiling light fixture with a new one. Removing the old fixture I discovered 3 black wire, 3 white wires and a ground. I connected black to black, white to white with the new fixture (that had one white, one black and one ground). While the light works, it won’t switch off at the switch…only at the breaker. So, I think there’s a connection there I’m missing for the switch. If this is so, how do I find it?? Is there a black to white connection for the switch?
Any advise you could give me would be appreciated.
I have a ceiling fan and a light fixture in the (added-on) front enclosed porch. There is a light with a pull chain at the end of the run, then a ceiling fan – all connected with wire mold – then an antiquated five speed rheostat at the dead end of the run. The switch inside the front door controls the power to the porch system. I am replacing the fan control with a new 3A 3 speed controller and I need to add an outlet to this system on the porch. There were two wires (white and Black) connected to the old rheostat, from the Wiremold – white to white, black to black. How (where) do I add the receptacle which will also have juice when the interior light switch is turned on while allowing the fan and pull chain light to also operate independently (also, only when the interior switch is on). Thank you. I have tried to figure this out and keep getting confused.
Before adding an outlet to a switch box the circuit wiring at the switch box will need to be verified to make sure there is a separate neutral and ground wire as well as the power source, all of which are required for an outlet. This is best discovered by using a voltage tester.
I hope this helps,