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Your detailed guide to installing chandeliers
Chandeliers are a statement piece of interior design that look great in a passage or entrance way. If you feel confident doing it yourself, installing or replacing a chandelier can be a relatively simple job. However, working with electricity can be very dangerous, so you must ensure that all appropriate safety precautions are taken.
Before you start
1. Make sure that you switch off the power to the circuit where the chandelier will be installed. Then, remove the current light fixture from the area. It can be easier to detach any removable parts like bulbs before you take down the whole fitting so these don’t get in the way.
2. Look at how the wires are connected to the old fixture. There should be two or more wires that might be color-coded. It’s a good idea to take a quick picture of how the wires connect at this point so you can refer back to it later. Disconnect the wiring from the current fixture by unscrewing the plastic wire connectors and detaching the wires.
Installing the new chandelier
3. Assemble the chandelier base by screwing all of the parts together. Don’t worry about screwing the light bulbs in yet as this will be easier to do once the chandelier is fitted.
4. Make sure the new chandelier is not too heavy to be safely fixed to the mounting box (most mounting boxes can support around 50 pounds). Depending on the light fitting that was there before, it should be a simple swap. If the new fitting is too heavy or cannot be mounted onto the existing brace, you may need to remove this and install a different mounting system, such as a fan brace.
5. If the new chandelier comes with a chain, this may need trimming. It's important to make sure that you know how much you’ll need before you cut it, which should be done with pliers. Chandeliers in foyers should hang at least seven feet from the floor to make sure heads don’t bump into them. They should also be out of the line of tall doors that might damage them. Once you are happy with the length of chain, thread the electrical wires through every other link up to the chain canopy, which hides the electrical connections where the chandelier meets the ceiling.
6. Now, lift the chandelier into place so you can connect the wires. It’s likely to be heavy, so you might want to have an assistant help you with this part.
Wiring the chandelier
7. Next, wrap the bare copper wire from the new chandelier and the one from the existing ceiling light fitting around the grounding screw. This is usually colored green. These are grounding wires and act as a safety mechanism in case of faults. Join the white neutral wire from the light fitting to the neutral wire of the chandelier together using a wire nut. In order to complete this stage, you may need to remove some of the outer insulating material to expose bare wire.
8. You will then need to attach the hot wires that carry the live electrical current to the light. These are usually covered with black insulation. If this is not clearly indicated, you might need to refer to the photo you took of the old light fitting to make sure that you are connecting the wires correctly. If it is not clear, or there are more wires on the chandelier than your existing light fitting, you may need to consult an electrician to complete this step. Secure the wires and replace the junction box covering.
9. Now you are ready to mount the chandelier in place. Screw in the chandelier’s bolts or lock nuts to secure it safely to the ceiling. This will vary depending on the individual chandelier’s composition, so you might need to refer to the manual to make sure that this is done correctly.
10. Once completed, you can attach the chandelier’s bulbs and any other decorative parts. When you are happy, switch the power back on and test the chandelier to make sure it works.
11. Enjoy your fabulous new chandelier light fitting and the satisfaction of completing a successful DIY project!
If the new chandelier doesn’t work, it could be due to incorrect wiring. Make sure you disconnect the power again before you investigate and call an electrician if you are unsure.