How to replace a light fixture in 8 steps | Checkatrade
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How to replace a light fixture in 8 steps

Our 8-step guide will show you how to replace a light fixture. This should be used as a guide only. We always recommend you instruct a qualified electrician for any electrical work.

While it is possible to learn how to replace a light fixture, we always recommend hiring a qualified electrician for this type of job.

Should any damage be caused due to faulty installation, you could invalidate your home insurance policy and any electrical fitting warranties.

But most importantly, working with electrical wiring can be dangerous – potentially lethal if not dealt with properly and safely.

If in any doubt, please use our search function below to find highly recommended, certified, and approved electricians in your area.

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How to replace a light fixture in 8 steps

Our 8-step guide will show you how to replace a light fixture. This should be used as a guide only. We always recommend you instruct a qualified electrician for any electrical work.

1. Gather the necessary tools and materials

This includes:

  • The new light fitting
  • A flathead screwdriver
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Multi-purpose detector
  • Electrical tape
  • Ladder or step stool

2. Turn off the power

Turn the electricity off at the fuse box and put electrical tape over the relevant switch in the fuse box. This will help to make sure the power is not accidentally turned on by someone else while you’re working.

Tip: Remember to read the safety instructions for your new light fitting.

3. Remove the old light fixture

Before removing the old light fixture, take a photo of the position of the cables to help you remember which wire goes where. Remember:

  • Green/yellow – Earth
  • Brown – Live
  • Blue – Neutral

Here’s how to remove a light fixture safely:

  • First, remove the wires from the existing light fitting. They may be concealed within a terminal box
  • Next, unscrew the base to remove the old fitting from its position on the wall/ceiling

At this stage, you should just be left with the exposed existing wires.

4. Prepare for the new light fixture

Part of understanding how to change a light fitting is preparing for the new fitting.

Your existing light fitting should have been attached to a joist, but it’s best to check the surrounding area with your multi-purpose detector.

Most new light fittings will have handy labels so you know where to insert each wire:

  • E – Earth
  • L – Live
  • N – Neutral

5. Mount and secure the new fixture bracket

Take the mounting bracket for the new fitting and use it as a template to mark the fixing holes. It might be possible to line up the holes from the old light fitting.

Next, screw the mounting bracket to the wall/ceiling.

6. Connect the wiring for the new light fixture

Check the existing wiring to make sure it’s not damaged or too long for your new fixture.

Cut the ends off the existing wiring with your wire cutters and strip off the end of the insulation to expose approx. 1/2 inch of new copper wire.

Using the instructions for the new light fitting and the photo you took of the existing fitting, connect the existing wires to the new light fitting:

  • Green/yellow – Earth
  • Brown – Live
  • Blue – Neutral

Make sure your connections are tight and neatly packed into the terminal box before closing it to conceal the connections safely.

7. Mount the light fitting and install the bulbs

Place the light fitting over the mounting bracket and secure it tightly in place.

Install the bulbs and any coverings.

8. Test the new fixture

Switch the electricity back on at the fuse box and check to make sure the light is working correctly.

If you want to understand how to replace other types of light fixings, for example, how to change a pendant light or how to replace a porch light, you can use these eight steps as a guide. Remember:

  • Always turn off the power before you start work
  • Follow the safety instructions for your new light fitting
  • If in any doubt, contact a qualified electrician

Prefer to let a fully qualified professional handle this job for you? Enter your postcode below to find highly recommended, certified electricians in your local area.

Search your postcode to find your local trade

How to replace an LED downlight

Want to know how to replace a recessed light such as an LED downlight?

First, note that there are three different types of downlights with slightly different methods of removing the bulbs from their holder:

  • Spring clips
  • Twist faceplate
  • Removable faceplate

We have instructions for replacing each type in our guide to removing LED downlights.

Always remember to turn off the power first and use a sturdy ladder to safely access your light fitting.

Find a qualified and approved electrician near you

Hiring a certified electrician gives you peace of mind that your light fitting has been replaced properly and safely without risk to you or your property.

A qualified electrician will either charge an hourly, daily, or per-job rate. This is typically in the region of £50 per hour or £400 per day. Check out our guide to the cost of an electrician for more information.

Use our search box below to find trusted, reliable, qualified electricians near you.

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