8 Expert Tips on Changing Your Home's Lighting
Old dusty chandeliers and other aging light fixtures can make your home look tired and outdated. They can also waste electricity if you're still using incandescent bulbs.
So here is advice on how to replace old fixtures and perhaps make the switch toward using energy saving LED lighting:
1 | Replace Fixtures Yourself
If you enjoy do-it-yourself projects, you can replace a lighting fixture like the kitchen or dining room chandelier by yourself, provided that you are replacing like-with-like, in other words installing a new fixture that is just like the old one, according to John Bolenbaugh of the Mighty Electricians in Chandler. However, be sure that there is the right kind of junction box in your ceiling for the new fixtures. What is a Junction Box?
2 | When Installing an Upgrade
If you are going to install something different than what you already have – perhaps a light that also has a fan – it's best to call an electrician because you're going to need a different kind of junction box to handle that kind of fixture.
3 | Shut Off Electricity
Before doing any project involving wiring, shut off electricity to the room involved by throwing the correct breaker on your home's electric panel. But even so, test the wires with a voltage detector for safety's sake before you start rewiring anything.
4 | Swapping Bulbs
If all you want to do is switch to LED bulbs from incandescent, it's usually a simple job. You just screw LEDs into the old sockets in the light fixture, however, you could run into problems if a dimmer switch controls the lighting in that room. You will still be able to turn lights on and off with the old switch, but the dimming function may not work properly. That's usually because the number of watts in an LED is significantly less than the watts in an incandescent. So consider buying special dimmable LED bulbs and installing a new electronic dimmer switch.
5 | Update Your Color
Makers of LED fixtures and bubs have come a long way recently in producing the level of color and brightness of the LED bulbs that homeowners want to use inside their homes. According to Allen Childers of Statewide Lighting in Scottsdale, prices have dropped as well. "LED fixtures used to cost about 50 percent more than they do now," he said.
6 | Replacing LED Can Lighting
You can generally replace the incandescent bulbs in the can lights in your ceiling with retrofit LEDs that include the light plus the trim ring. Be sure to buy enough - and maybe some extra - lights plus trim to do the entire room at one time. The problem is that manufacturers keep changing the trim pieces and you might not be able to find enough of the same kind if you want to buy more later on.
7 | Use Caution
It could be a challenge, of course, to change out a chandelier that hangs from a 12-foot ceiling without using scaffolding. According to Childers, homeowners do try it if they have a tall enough ladder. Don't forget, you can rent scaffolding to use in your home to be on the safe side. Needless to say, the difficulty of the job depends on the weight and size of the fixture, and a really heavy fixture might make it a two-person job, including a licensed electrician.
8 | Choose a Style That'll Last
A chandelier or light fixture can probably last for 20 years or more, but colors and metal types keep changing more and more rapidly. The shiny brass look appears to still be out of style. Oil-rubbed bronze has been popular for about 10 years and remains fairly popular, according to Childers. Satin nickel also remains big, "but the golds are coming back," he said, "and there are a lot of colored woods."
What is a junction box?
With regard to light fixtures or wall switches, for example, a junction box is a metal or plastic box that comes in a variety of sizes and mounting strengths, with a cover to protect the wiring inside. This box houses wiring connections, protects them from physical damage, prevents people from accidentally touching live wires, and it helps prevent fires.
Sometimes the junction box is referred to as a j-box. Some electrical devices in your home don't require j-boxes, like garbage disposals, for example. At the end of the day, if you are unsure about the requirements of a j-box, such as its mounting ability/strength, or the electrical components for your new fixture be sure to reach out to a certified electrician. Back To Top
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