Light Fixture Replacement
If you live in or are renovating a home that's more than a few years old, you probably inherited a few outdated light fixtures that you'd like to replace. Replacing old light fixtures is one of the most dramatic improvements you can make to a room and is well worth the investment--although it is one of the most affordable improvements you can make, too!
But before selecting a new style light fixture to replace the old one, and before deciding whether or not to do the replacement yourself, you'll need to know a few things about the existing fixture:
1. How much wattage the fixture can accept. Fixtures often have a sticker somewhere, generally on the inside of a shade or somewhere similar, that can tell you the maximum wattage. The new fixture you install should not exceed this total wattage because if you do exceed this total, you could cause a fire.
If you need more light in the space, you can consider using compact fluorescent or LED bulbs in the new fixture because you'll use fewer watts of energy to get the same amount of light, plus these two choices are more energy-efficient! Click here to learn more about these two lighting options.
Note that wattage does not refer to how much light is given off by the light fixture! The measure of a light's brightness is called lumens.
2. The measurement of the canopy or back plate. You will need to find a replacement fixture with a canopy or back plate size that is at least as large as the original fixture so as to cover the hole in the wall or ceiling that was made with the existing infrastructure, whether or not the area around the hole matches the room.
3. The wiring. It's always a good idea to observe how the existing light fixture is wired, which will make wiring the new fixture easier. You may even want to draw a sketch or take pictures to help you remember.
4. The approximate weight of the fixture. If you're not planning on replacing the junction box, you will need to choose a new fixture that is the same weight as or lighter than the current fixture. Replacing a small ceiling light with a chandelier or ceiling fan can be done, but because those fixtures are heavy, you will need to install a different heavy duty junction box or special brace mounted to the joists in the ceiling.
Once you have removed the existing light fixture (or had someone do it for you), it is always a good idea to paint or wallpaper the area before you install the replacement if this was part of your room renovation to begin with. All too often, people will paint or lay wallpaper around the light fixture after it is installed, not before. So, when they go to replace the fixture, they are highly limited in their choices by the size of the previous fixture's canopy or back plate.
Choose a light fixture replacement style that coordinates with the style and finish of existing fixtures in your home and get ready to enjoy a huge improvement in your home's ambiance and value!
- Light Fixture Safety and Installation Tips
- How to Install a Chandelier
- How to Choose the Right Sized Fixture
Emma Harger-Young - Lights Online