Sweet Boy recently learned how to install a wall sconce.
Let me start off by saying that moving during the summer with a child home 24/7 is no easy task. We’ve found the best way to keep from hearing “I’m bored!” is to involve Sweet Boy in various projects.
I would also like to calm any fears regarding having our son work with electricity. Let me assure you that:
A. The power was turned off during the wiring process. This is the MOST important instruction.
B. He was heavily supervised by BOTH of his parents.
I am blessed that Sweet Boy’s father has a degree in aeronautical engineering. For years he kept America safe by working on multi million dollar military aircraft. So it goes without saying that Mr. Décor knows his way around electrical systems. While Mr. Décor could have installed the new wall sconces on his own in under 5 minutes flat we both though it was more important to take 30 minutes and teach Sweet Boy a valuable skill. He is a cub scout after all. 🙂
Changing out a light fixture is relatively simple. You only need a screwdriver and something to stand on that brings you eye level with the work area.
Most light fixtures have a white plastic cap or one to two simple screws that attach it to a metal wall plate. Our old flying saucer wall fixtures were attached by a single white cap and very easy to remove.
Once the fixture is down you need to remove the plastic wire caps (which are yellow here) and untwist the wall wiring from the fixture wiring. Pay careful attention when separating the wiring not to cross the different colored strands against each other. It is best to do one color at a time. Here we have black, white and green colored tubing (also known as insulation) that covers the wiring. Once the wall wire is separated from the fixture wire replace the plastic cap on each of the single wall wiring strands. You can then remove the old metal wall plate.
Here’s a close up. You can see the single strands of white, black and (avocado) green colored wires. The yellow caps for each are somewhat hidden.
The screws may give you a bit of resistance but be determined and show them who’s boss.
Once the old plate is off install the new metal wall plate. There are standard sizes. If you are working with an antique fixture adjustments may need to be made and this is best left to a professional.
Sweet Boy had a bit of trouble keeping the plate steady while he screwed it to the wall. A second pair of hands can be helpful.
He used his mom’s “eyeball” technique to see if the plate was level. You can use an actual level to perform this task.
You’ll then inspect your new fixture. You may find that the copper wires look a bit “frayed”.
A few twists are all that is needed to smooth them.
Ready for install.
Color coded plastic tubing (also known as insulation) makes it easy to determine which wall wires go with other fixture wires. In most cases it will be white to white and black to black, etc.
Remove the yellow plastic cap and slide both the white wall wire and the white fixture wire into the cap.
Secure the wires together with a few clockwise twists.
Double check that the wires are secure within the cap by tugging gently on the wires against the cap. Then repeat the same steps with the black wires and the single ground (earth) wire which is usually copper or green in color.
Once all the wiring is complete gently push the wires back into the wall cavity.
Keep easing the wires in as the light fixture gets ever closer to it’s intended spot.
At this point you are ready to begin tightening the screws of the light fixture to the wall. Start getting excited that you are almost through!
Drop a screw in your excitement.
Like any good HGTV show we have assistants who pounce on dropped screws and make it easy to quickly return to the task.
Please also notice that we padded the flooring of our work area so that in the event any glass elements are dropped no harsh language will ensue. This is a family and pet friendly blog after all.
Once the screws are tightened, gently add the glass globe and a light bulb. Turn the electrical power back on and hold your breath to see if it works.
Warning: your mom might have tears in her eyes because she is SO proud of you.
Better yet, you’ll be proud of yourself!
(While these aren’t the sconces of my dreams, they are a good/inexpensive temporary solution.)
Let there be light!
Disclaimer: We here at Décor To Adore are in no way, shape or form professional electricians. If you are installing lighting for the first time it is HIGHLY recommended that you are supervised by an individual who knows exactly what they are doing.