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Home Improvement: Replacing Outdoor Light Fixtures (don’t be scared!!)

 

  We recently moved into a new home and have been busy re-vamping, tearing down, and re-constructing this/that in our new home.  It’s been fun……but a complete learning process.  If you’d like to see other Home Improvement Projects that we’ve been figuring out (from the help of friends, family, and the ol’ internet), be sure to check them out.

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to learn how to re-wire something electrical.  Like, a light fixture, a fan, an outlet.  But I’ve been a little chicken because my mind always goes directly to imagining a billion watts of current, shocking my body….leaving me lifeless on the ground.  I’m not kidding.  I’ve been a little wimpy to do anything electrical because it sorta freaks me out.

 

Until now.  (well, until yesterday, to be exact…)

 

Steve’s brother, Joe, is in town.  He’s teaching Steve how to lay hardwood floors (which are looking BEE-AUTIFUL…..more on those another day! :) ) and while they were breaking for lunch yesterday, I asked Joe (who somehow knows how to do it ALL) to show me how to change an outside light fixture.  I was ready to learn.

 

Maybe you’ve done this before and it seems pretty simple.  But I always thought we should hire an electrician for such jobs.  Because EEEEK…….what if I got shocked by those above mentioned billion watts of current?!?! ;)

 

Boy, was I wrong.

 

After he taught me the first one…..I re-wired the other 5 light fixtures that I wanted replaced outside.  Easy as that.

 

 

 

I still can’t believe I re-wired those little beauties!   But even more than that……I can’t believe how simple it was.

 

 

 

Goodbye little brass fixtures.  You won’t be missed. :)

 

 

 

3 fixtures by the garage and 2 by the front door……..5 total fixture replacements in one afternoon.

I couldn’t be more thrilled!

 

 

 

And to top off yesterday’s excitement……these little lovelies just bloomed from the previous owners planting them maybe last year(??).  And Steve pointed them out to me, just as I finished wiring the last fixture.  Blooming flowers always bring a smile to my face.  And now…….so does installing a new light fixture! :)

 

 

Would you like a quick lesson in replacing an old light fixture??

 

**Keep in mind, everyone’s fixtures will be slightly different, so read your instructions.  However, I think it’s really useful to see someone do it up close…..so hopefully this will help some of you.**

 

Okay, first of all…….STOP!!

And turn off your power.  You don’t want to shock your socks off. :)

 

 

Now, let’s get started.

 

I’m going to show you the process of replacing our back porch light……because it was smaller and easier to manipulate while taking pictures.  (And thanks again bro-in-law Joe, for helping while I took a trillion pictures!)

 

First of all, start unscrewing/untwisting/un-clipping your old light fixture.  Everyone’s is a little different…..so do what you need to, to remove yours from its mount.

 

 

Now, you should see some plastic caps covering your wire ends.  There should be black wires, white wires, and some copper colored ground wires.  (Again, yours may be a little different……but black and white seem to be pretty standard.  But the ground wire could be another color.)  Unscrew them right off and then untwist the wire ends.

 

 

Then, screw your mount on.  Every mount will be a little different…..so follow your instructions.  And I just mounted my mount (the copper color pieces) to the old one (grey circle piece)….but you will probably mount yours right to your wall and over an exposed hole in the wall where all the wires come out.  But, we just mounted right over this one.

 

 

There’s generally another piece on your mount that can twist around so that you can mount your light perfectly straight.  Adjust that as needed, and screw tightly into place.

 

 

Next, grab the GROUND wire from the fixture and wrap it around the GROUND bolt (mine’s green) on your mount.  Screw the bolt down tightly to hold the wire on there securely.

 

 

Next, twist the GROUND wire from your light fixture to the GROUND wire coming from your wall.  Twist them together clockwise.

 

 

Then, twist your wire cap on clockwise, securing the 2 wires together.  TO TEST IT………give the wire from the light fixture a slight tug.  It shouldn’t come loose.  If it does, the cap didn’t secure around the two wires tight enough.  So, remove the cap and re-wist the wires together and then the cap.

 

 

Next, grab the WHITE wire from the light fixture and twist it together with the WHITE wire from the wall, twisting them together clockwise.  Do the same with the BLACK wires.  Screw the caps on these sets of wires and be sure they are secure.  (If your exposed wires aren’t long enough to wrap around the other wires, trim some of the plastic casing away that’s covering the raw wires.  You need about 1/2 to 1 inch of exposed wire to work with.)

 

 

Next, bend all the wires closer together and try and fit them behind the light fixture base.

 

 

Then, secure your light fixture base to the wall, however yours was designed to be attached.  Mine had two little screw covers to tighten down.

 

 

Lastly, insert your bulb.

 

 

 

Now, turn your power back ON and enjoy your handiwork!!!

 

Now, save yourself some cash and install your own light fixtures.

 

 

If you have always been a little nervous to try, you may really surprise yourself.  It surprised me! :)

 

Good luck!

-Ashley

 

 

 

***I am not an electrician and am not sharing exact instructions as to how everyone’s light fixtures should be installed.  This is only shared as an example of one way to install a fixture, for those who may need visual help.  Make It and Love It is not responsible for any problems or accidents you may encounter while trying to install your own electrical fixtures.***

 

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Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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