Scott Caron, master electrician for Ask This Old House, helps a homeowner install a chandelier in a dimly lit dining room. (See below for a shopping list, tools, and steps.)
Shopping List for How to Add an Overhead Light:
- Light fixture of your choice
- Electrical boxes
- 14-2 nonmetallic electrical wire
- Adjustable-length box bar with hanging clip
- Wire nuts
- LED-compatible dimmer switch
Tools for How to Add an Overhead Light:
- Tape measure
- Oscillating saw
- Fish tape
Steps for How to Add an Overhead Light:
1. Find an existing power source/outlet.
2. Turn off power supply to work area.
3. Measure the ceiling and locate the electrical box in the center of the room.
4. Mark the outlines for the ceiling electrical box and electrical switch box with a pencil.
5. Use an oscillating saw to cut around the outline of the electrical boxes.
6. Cut a hole with the oscillating saw where the wall meets the ceiling to allow access for the fish tape. You may need to cut additional access holes to fish around joists or strapping.
7. Feed the fish tape into the hole in the ceiling box.
8. Connect the 14-gauge electrical wire to the fish tape and pull it across.
9. Place the adjustable-length box bar inside the ceiling and twist it into place until it’s locked in.
10. Tie the electrical box to the adjustable-length box bar using the hanging clip.
11. Make electrical connections between the 14-2 electrical wire and the wires attached to the light fixture. Tie them together with wire nuts.
12. Place Madison bars behind the electrical switch box to keep it in place. Squeeze Madison bars with pliers to lock them into place.
13. Splice power supply wires to switch wires using pliers and wire nuts.
14. Reconnect the wires to the power supply outlet, cover it with electrical tape, and screw it back into place with a screwdriver.