There’s no other way around it: In order to get the most out of living in your home, it’s essential that it’s well-lit. In addition to simply creating a safer environment — family members and guests are less likely to trip over something and fall if they can see where they’re going, for example — proper illumination also enables you to, you know, see.
If you’re looking to install a new light fixture or replace an existing one, you’ve come to the right place. These days, money is tight for everyone. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to install a light fixture on your own or with the help of a friend. In doing so, you’re able to considerably reduce your expenses compared to having a professional come in and do the same thing.
Are you considering putting in new lights in your living room, your kitchen, your bedroom or anywhere else in your house? Great! Here’s a brief how-to guide to get you started.
1. Ask Yourself What You’re Trying to Accomplish
OK, your living room is too dark for comfort. Not a problem. You’ve decided to hang a new light fixture to fix the problem.
But that decision is only half the battle. You need to figure out what specific problems you’re trying to tackle and design your lighting solution in a way that addresses them. Pay close attention to the actual location of the lights; if you’re replacing an old set, keep in mind they don’t necessarily have to go in the same exact spot.
2. Check Local Applicable Codes
Most cities and towns will require electrical work to be inspected before governing authorities sign off on it. Prior to getting started, make sure your home is up to code. Chances are you’ll also have to get your work inspected after the fact, so plan accordingly. On old homes, you may need to replace your circuit breakers. This can be less expensive than it sounds if you can find a company that lets you exchange your old ones for a discount on the new ones. Not only will you save some money, but you won’t have excess circuit breakers sitting around your house for years.
3. Figure Out How Much Juice You Need
Are you going to use incandescent bulbs? Fluorescent ones? What about LED or halogen? Depending on your preferences, you’ll have to choose bulbs that offer you the optimal level of illumination.
Once you’ve figured out which kinds of light bulbs you’re going to use, you’ve got to make sure you have enough juice to power your light fixture. No sense in putting in all that time only to flip the switch when the project’s done and blow a circuit. So make sure your new fixture has an appropriate power source.
4. Shut Your Power Off
This might be a no-brainer, but after you’ve designed your new light fixture, you’re probably going to want to start installing it right away.
Not quite yet! Before you do any electrical work, it’s imperative that you shut your power off. Failure to do so could result in catastrophic injuries. So again: Shut your power off before you get to work!
5. Get to Work
You’ll likely be able to take care of most smaller projects on your own. But for those that are a little bigger — let’s say you’re hanging a new light fixture on the ceiling of a 15-foot loft — it’s probably wise to have a helper, even if it’s just your son spotting you on the ladder.
Remember, safety is job one. You won’t get to enjoy the fruits of your labor immediately if you get injured — so be careful!
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