How to Hardwire a Sconce Light FixtureMay 3, 2015
Changing out a light fixture can have a dramatic impact in the appearance and atmosphere of a room. Even though it can seem intimidating at first, it really is not a difficult task and anyone can successfully swap out an old or outdated light for a modern new one!
Here are the steps we used to replace the old light fixture in our master bath. If you remember, we stripped the wallpaper in that room, removed the old toilet to tile the floors, and installed a new vanity. I love the way my TINY little master bath looks now. Even though it is not grand in the space it offers, it still is grand in the finishes. I will do a post very soon that features my accent wall tiling job, with mosaic and glass tiles placed vertically to mimic raindrops. Anyway, in order to tile the accent wall, we needed to remove the wall sconce and then re-install it. Here is how we did that!
Note: Keep in mind that we took off this same sconce in order to tile the wall, so all the electric work was already there, and the mounting plate was already installed at the proper place. Our job was pretty straightforward. If you are installing a new light altogether, your job will be a bit more complicated, as you need to ensure that the mounting bracket is appropriately secured to the wall and the the wiring coming from the wall is appropriate and done according to code. Here is what the light looked like on the original wall-so plain and boring!
How to Hardwire a Sconce Light Fixture
1. The first step, of course, is to turn off the circuit for your light. Make sure you have the correct circuit. Turn on the light, then flip the switch at the breaker box. If your light turns off, you are ready for the next step. Don’t forget to label that breaker so you know for next time. You can also use an optional voltage tester to make absolutely certain the wires are dead.
2. Assuming you don’t have a light you need to remove first, the next step is identifying which of the wires coming out of the wall is the hot one. The hot wire is the one that carries power; it’s usually black! The neutral wire is usually white. In older houses, the wires could theoretically be any color, so if you are nervous at this point to identify which wire is the hot one, it may be time to call in a professional electrician.
3. We needed two people for this step- one person to support the scone and the other one to twist the wires together. Twist together the neutral wire from the electric box and neutral wire from the sconce. Do the same with the hot wire. Even though neutral is usually white and hot is usually black, that’s not always the case, so it’s a good idea to verify with a voltage tester. If you have a grounding wire in the electric box, connect it to the sconce’s grounding wire and twist it around the grounding bolt a few times. Then while holding the wire in place, tighten the grounding bolt.
4. Twist wire nuts onto the wire connection. Shove excess wires and cords back into the electrical box.
5. Place the sconce onto the metal plate to secure it to the wall. Then twist the decorative ball cap over the exposed bolt to keep the fixture in place.
Note: It is important to realize that there are requirements regarding the gauge of the wires and the load of the circuit. A 20 amp circuit requires 12 gauge wires, while a 15 amp circuit requires either 12 or 14 gauge wires. If this is confusing or does not make sense to you, it may be time to call in a professional.
Even though this process is fairly straightforward, it can be intimidating and of course, very dangerous to work with electricity. If you are not confident and familiar with the various precautions and safety measures, please do not attempt to complete this task independently. Hire an electrician to complete the job, or hire one to supervise you during your first attempt!
Here is the final product: the old sconce on the new wall! Isn’t that wall pretty? The post is coming soon!