It’s amazing how much a few lights can really make a place look lived in. Or in my case … live-able. I have been stealing time away from work and everything else in my life for months so since the move in i have put a lot on the back burner to try and re-connect with the world and my friends. The outcome has been a much happier me. The second outcome is that i don’t have tons to blog about regarding the house (knitting coming soon!!!) as little process has been occurring, but that’s more than none. So what have i been finding time to do around here? Install lights!
First off…not one single shock! Crazy i know, but with all of the electrical work i have done on this house i have not shocked myself once, not even a little bit. I guess it pays to check, re-check, and re-check once more that all of the switches and breakers are off before beginning any work.
Installing lighting fixtures is one of those 15 minutes here and another 10 minutes there type task that you can perform whenever, as long as you can get another light into the room so you don’t fall off the ladder onto a pile of shoes or something equally deadly. Luckily i have plenty of portable lights since the move in was completed before all of the walls were sealed so non of the lights were set yet. So how do you install a light fixture you ask? Easy!
First pick out the fantabalous new fixture that you will enjoy for years to come and get it to you house. Once you have the fixture there are a couple of different types so the installation will vary. The first set i tackled were the closets which being a super simple ceramic pull chain were a snap!
PULL CHAIN CERAMIC CLOSET FIXTURES - These are the most simple and what i found on the pull chain lights i installed in the closets. Follow these instructions if you fixture does not have any wires coming off of it, only screws (similar to the duplex outlets installed earlier). First you strip off approximately 1/2” of the covering over the wires you have already run everywhere. Actually let’s back up one step. TURN OFF THE CIRCUT BREAKER FOR THAT FIXTURE. This is so you don’t die and can finish the rest of the installation yourself. Ok, with the power off and the wires stripped bend the tips into a horseshoe shape.
Next place the appropriate wires over their screws and use the electrical pliers once more to tighten the horseshoe shape around the screw so the majority of the wire is now touching the screw. Next take the screwdriver and set the screws tight clamping down the wire in place.
If you have a grounding screw in the light can you can use that for your remaining stripped copper ground wire so that you do not get shocked each time you pull the chain on the light. Otherwise there are bars and clips that you can purchase at the hardware store to replicate this, and grounding is important! Now that you have all of the wires set to the fixture and box we will set the fixture. For the ceramic pull chain fixtures i set the screws most of the way prior to placing the fixture on so that i didn’t have to hold it in place the entire time i set the screws. Now that it’s attached, turn back on the power, screw in a blub, and pull the chain. Did it light up? If so…congratulations! If not, i’d call an electrician.
HARD WIRED SMOKE DETECTORS: While i usually only procrastinate a little bit, for these i was way overdue. I know they are annoying and i know they always go off at the absolute wrong time, but they really can save your life. And if you cook as much as i hope to in the future (once the oven arrives) then they are a must regardless that they are required by law.
So how to you set them? TURN OFF THE POWER and then connect the colors! Using my new best friends “Wire Nuts” you simply place the white with the white, black with the black, and if you are linking multiple units the red from your 3-way wire to the orange on the unit!
Next set the screws a bit, same as the pull chain lighting, before setting the smoke detector onto the wall so you don’t have to hold it in place the whole time that you are setting the screw. Slip the smoke detector over the screws and set them the final few turns to firmly attach the unit to the wall/ceiling.
Plug the wires into the unit and swivel the unit onto the housing until it is snug. Turn the power back on and perform the initial test to confirm it is working (usually holding a button and having your ears blasted with a couple of quick beeps). Also check for the magical green light! If you have it…you are a go! (roger, roger)