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Installing Light Fixtures

It is always reccomended that you hire a qualified electrician but if you are daring, there are a few jobs that some do-it-yourselfers tackle. The following is what is involved in installing most light fixtures so consider this before you decide to do-it -yourself.

No two light fixtures are exactly the same so there are no generic steps for installing them. Complete diagrams and instructions accompany most new light fixtures. Be sure you don’t loose them.

If you are adding on, you may want to run a new circuit. You may draw power from an existing circuit but be careful not to overload the circuit causing the breaker to trip.

A big installation headache is getting fixtures mounted properly. It is best if an extra cross brace is nailed up during the framing process.

If you are retro-fitting, you might have to tear out some wallboard to add extra bracing, or settle for locating the fixture's box on the nearest stud or ceiling joist.

Usually recessed lights are installed after framing and before drywall. If this is not the case you may want to retro-fit a recessed light to enhance the lighting scheme.

For this project, you should purchase a recessed fixture with a mounting bracket designed to fit through the hole.

Use the light's housing as a guide to mark the hole. Then use a keyhole saw to cut the hole. Remember, your circuits and some of these steps might be different.

Mark the location of the fixture. You should run the incoming power directly to the light fixture then run the cable down to the switch to make a loop.

To mount the light, you will slip the frame brackets up into the opening. Position the fixture to set flush with the bottom of the wood framing. Fasten the frame to the joists by pounding in the metal teeth on its supporting arms. Keep insulation at least 3" away from recessed lights, unless light is marked "I.C." (Insulated Ceiling) to avoid overheating and fire.
Use small mounting clips that should be included with the light to fasten it slightly recessed.

You should paint the area before putting in the reflector shield and bulb if you can. The shield should snap into place.

Ceiling Fans
How you mount a ceiling fan depends on the model. You should always follow the manufacturer's instructions that come with the ceiling fan.
Almost all ceiling fans require a special ceiling fan-rated junction box anchored to a ceiling joist.

If your project is new construction, first you will determine the location of the fan, usually in the center of the room. If you can't alter the location to be next to a joist, nail up a cross brace between the joists. Next, nail up a junction box so it will set flush with the ceiling drywall. Then run the incoming power cable, leaving about foot of cable for connections.

At this point you can hang the drywall or whatever covering you plan to use. Cut out around the outside edges of the box being careful not to cut the electrical cable then finish anchoring the drywall.

Rest the fan on a step ladder and fasten the mounting bracket to the junction box. Connect the cable and fan wires together, securing each pair with a wire connector.

Lift the fan into position and fasten it to the mounting bracket making sure the decorative cover is on then slide the decorative cover into place.

Track Lighting
You can add flexibility and beauty to a room’s design scheme by adding track lighting. It is fairly easy to install a new fixture on a finished ceiling.
You will have to install a new junction box and run switched power to the box on a new cable if you are not replacing an existing light fixture.

First, orient the track so the bulbs face the objects you want to light at about a 30° angle.

A light kit will usually have connecting wires, but you can make them if you need to. Simply cut a piece of cable to a long enough length to tie in with the source cable and reach the track terminals. Strip the cable and connect each wire. Cap the connections with wire connectors and fold them into the box. Feed the wire ends through the fixture's mounting plate then fasten it to the box. Feed the ends of the wire through the track opening at the terminals. Secure the track to the ceiling, either by screwing it into the ceiling joists or using toggle bolts.

Hook up the ground wire to the base of the fixture plate. Strip the wires and secure them to the respective track terminals. Attach each light fixture onto the track. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, some fixtures snap on and others attach with a bracket.

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