How To Switch Out An Outdoor Light Fixture

By | July 10, 2023

How To Switch Out An Outdoor Light Fixture

Updating outdoor lighting is a great way to enhance your home's exterior and improve safety. Changing a light fixture can seem intimidating, but it's a manageable Do-It-Yourself project with the right tools and safety precautions. This article guides you through switching out an outdoor light fixture, ensuring your home's exterior illumination is stylish and functional.

Step 1: Safety First

Before you begin, ensure a safe working environment. Turn off the circuit breaker or fuse controlling the outdoor light fixture to cut off power. Use a voltage tester to confirm that there's no electricity running through the wires. Wear gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself from potential hazards.

Step 2: Remove the Old Fixture

Locate the mounting screws or nuts holding the old fixture in place. Use the appropriate tools, such as a screwdriver or wrench, to remove them. Carefully detach the old fixture and disconnect the electrical wires attached to it. Label each wire clearly to avoid confusion when reconnecting the new fixture.

Step 3: Prepare the New Fixture

Check the instructions included with your new fixture to ensure you have all the necessary parts. Assemble the new fixture according to the instructions. If the new fixture requires a new mounting bracket, install it in place using appropriate hardware.

Step 4: Connect the Wires

Reconnect the electrical wires to the new fixture. Match the colors carefully. In most cases, black wires are for "hot" or live wires, white wires are for neutral wires, and green or bare wires are for ground wires. Twist the ends of each pair of wires together and secure them with wire nuts. Push the connected wires neatly into the junction box. Be careful not to leave any exposed wires.

Step 5: Mount the New Fixture

Carefully position the new fixture onto the mounting screws or bracket. Ensure the fixture is level and aligned correctly. Tighten the mounting screws or nuts until the fixture is secure. Attach the decorative elements, such as the globe or shade, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 6: Restore Power and Test

Turn on the circuit breaker or fuse that controls the outdoor light fixture to restore power. Switch on the new fixture and check that it works properly. If everything looks and functions correctly, you've successfully replaced your outdoor light fixture.

Additional Tips

  • Before starting the project, consider getting a helper, especially if the fixture is heavy or difficult to reach.
  • If you're replacing a fixture near a water source, use a fixture rated for outdoor use to prevent water damage.
  • When choosing a new fixture, consider the style and brightness appropriate for your outdoor area.
  • If you're unsure about any step of the process, don't hesitate to call an electrician for assistance.


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