Some people are natural do it yourselfers and they are just the kind of people who might want to attempt changing a light fixture or moving a light fixture in
their homes. With today’s technology and new products, doing this type of work is easier than ever. However, if you don’t know anything about electrical wiring and you want to move an electrical fixture, your best bet is to hire a professional electrician. Otherwise, you may find the results of your attempt in the most literal and dangerous sense — “shocking.”
Do It Yourself (DIY)
First of all, you will need to turn off the power to the room in which you are working. That means if you’re lucky, the circuit breakers to each room have been labeled properly. If not, then someone has to stand guard as you flick each control breaker until the light on your fixture is finally turned off.
(Don’t) Do It Yourself (DDIY)
“An extra pair of hands is always a good thing,” said Chris Reeb, owner of Lucci Electric in Wilton.
DIY: Reeb also pointed out step by step, the process for doing the job correctly. That includes: 1. Turn off power to room. 2. Remove the existing fixture. 3. Then find the junction box, where the wiring in the ceiling is located. If you are moving the fixture to a new location, you will do the following. 4. Cut a hole in the ceiling for the junction box. 5. Finally, add a support bar if necessary, especially if the fixture is heavy.
According to Reeb, if you have enough slack on the cable to reach the new location, then the job is pretty easy from that point on. You just need to hang the new fixture. Of course, this is all rather simplified and you would be well advised to study the schematics of the layout of your electrical system before attempting changing or moving an electrical fixture.
DDIY: If you don’t have enough cable, moving a fixture gets very complicated and you’re better off calling a professional electrician. You also don’t want to do it yourself if you open the junction box in the ceiling and find multiple cables in it — especially if it’s in an older house.
Reeb said that the most important and most often ignored wire is the ground wire. “That’s the safety wire,” he said adding that you can put yourself at risk for a shock hazard if you don’t use that ground wire. He also said that sometimes do-it-yourselfers end up calling in the professionals when they reverse the polarity by mixing up the wires. That’s another shock hazard.
DDIY: You don’t want to attempt hanging a heavy fixture by yourself. You’re going to need extra support for that fixture and it needs to be installed carefully. Reeb said that his men hung a 500 pound Waterford Crystal chandelier and made sure the support bar was sufficient to carry the weight. Of course, anyone hanging a 500 pound Waterford Crystal chandelier would be crazy not to hire a professional.
DIY: When hooking up the new fixture, you will want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You will also need to match up the wires on the new fixture to your home wires and then screw in the base of the fixture.
Sandy Zemola at Fairfield Lighting in Fairfield said that she recommends to inquiring do-it-yourselfers to either use what she calls “a Quick Fix,” when appropriate, or call an electrician when not sure. “A Quick Fix is if you just want to reposition your hanging fixture several inches away from where it is,” said Zemola. “Then all you need is a swag hook on a joist and you can easily reposition the fixture.” You can only do this if there is enough structure in the ceiling to support the fixture and enough chain and wire to reach since your fixture will rise as you move it over to the swag hook. For something like moving a light fixture from one room to another, or relocating a flush mount, Zemola recommends hiring a professional electrician.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that an ounce of caution is better than 500 pounds of broken glass, and a lot better than a shocking experience.