Table Of Contents

Installing Your Pendant Light

Pendant lights can be fashionable, easy to install, and come in various shapes, sizes, designs, and functions. Perhaps you wish to update your existing light fixtures. Not to worry; the process can be pretty straightforward – it's as easy as upgrading recessed lights. Just follow this guide on how to install a pendant light fixture.

You will also learn some benefits of installing pendant lights and the steps to installing pendant lights. The cost to install pendant lights and some extra tips for installing a pendant light are discussed. To round it up, you will get insights on when to bring in a professional to help.

Benefits Of Installing Pendant Lights

A pendant light fixture helps bring down the light from the ceiling closer to your counter, table, or chair. As such, pendant lights are fantastic for task lighting. You can install them individually or in hanging groups to get the following benefits:

  • They can be very stylish. They give your home that "Wow" factor.
  • You can easily customise pendant lights to suit your taste.
  • Pendant light installations are pretty straightforward. Your ceiling will remain intact during and after installation.
  • You can cover the lights to get concentrated lighting in a specific area.
  • Pendant lights are known to reduce glare and eye strain.
  • They are generally inexpensive and energy efficient.
  • They help accentuate the ambiance of a space.

Steps To Install Pendant Lights

If you already have a junction box, installing a new pendant light will take only six easy steps. You will be surprised how much of your living space can be illuminated by the new fixture.

Initial steps

Go to your premises circuit breaker and switch off the power. Removing the fuse or flipping the circuit breaker at the electrical panel to turn off the power is a crucial step. You would not want electricity to be flowing through the wires as you work. A voltage tester can come in handy here.

Use it to test electrical flow through the wires to confirm that you got the correct breaker or fuse. Next, gather the tools and equipment you need. Equipment needed includes the following:

  • The pendant fixture
  • A screwdriver
  • Voltage tester
  • Some wire nuts
  • A pair of wire strippers or combination tool
  • A spirit level
  • Ladder (if required)
  • Coat hanger made into an "S" hook if needed.
  • Mask and goggles for face protection from drywall debris and insulation.

Step One: Take note of the electrical connections

Snap a picture of the wire (electrical) connections before you remove the light. This way, you can make navigating the electrical connections for the new light easier. Typically, the fixture is attached to three electrical wires. These are the hot wire, the neutral wire, and the ground wire. The colour codes for the wires may be as follows:

  • The hot wire (from the switch) – may be black or red
  • Neutral wires can be white or grey
  • The ground wire can be either green or bare copper

Sometimes, the ground wire is absent. Rather a bare wire connected to a screw in the metal ceiling box represents it. This is usually the case for houses built before the 1970s.

Step Two: Disconnect the electrical wiring

Use a voltage checker to confirm that the wires are not live before disconnecting them. To disconnect the wires, start with the hot wires. Then, take the neutrals apart. And lastly, the ground wires. Remember to strip the wire insulation (if necessary) to expose around ½ inch (1.2 cm) of wire.

Use your wire stripper or combination tool here. Small plastic caps may cover the connections between the fixture wires and your house wiring. Remove these old wire connectors by twisting them counter clockwise until they get loose. You should see the threaded rod attaching the old fixture to the mounting bracket. Unscrew it.

When you have freed the old fixture, put it aside. It may be necessary to remove the old mounting plate or hardware. Remember, when removing the screws that hold the light casing, use an appropriate screwdriver. Also, keep your hand on the light fixture as you remove the last screws. This way, you ensure it does not fall.

Step Three: Install mounting brackets

The next step is to replace the mounting bracket using a screwdriver. Attach it to the junction box. The mounting bracket helps connect the pendant light to the junction box. Use a level line to ensure the mounting bracket is straight. After that, you can screw the rod from the pendant to the mounting bracket.

This hanging process can vary depending on the style of pendant light. Sometimes, instead of screwing the pendant light onto the bracket, you align the mounting screws with holes in the fixture and do a quarter turn.

Step Four: Connect the wires

You are almost done. Use the wire stripper and wire nut to attach the wires from your pendant to the wires hanging out of the junction box. If you do not have wire nuts, you can get them cheaply at any hardware store. The wires are colour-coded. You must attach white-to-white, black to black, and green to green.

Keep in mind that the ground wire may also be bare copper. You can attach the ground wires first to the junction box. Do this by wrapping it around the ground screw within the junction box. After that, connect the neutral. Then, attach the hot wire. After twisting the bare wires together, use wire nuts to secure each set on the ends.

You may need a hand holding the light fixture as you connect the wires. Alternatively, you can hook a piece of coat hanger wire – bent in an "S" shape – onto the mounting bracket as support.

Step Five: Cover up the junction box

This is where you cover up the junction box. Tuck the wires neatly into the box and ensure there are no protrusions.

Step Six: Test the light installation

Finally, it is time to install the shade and the bulb. Make sure the light bulb's wattage matches the fixture. After that, turn on the power. Turn the power off if the light does not come on and check the wiring. Yes. You are done. That is how to install a pendant light.

Considerations When Hanging Pendant Lights

You can use pendant light fixtures in clusters. In addition, they can provide task lighting in various locations, such as a desk area. An example of this use is in pendant lamps. Other areas can be over the dining room table or over a sink.

Pendant lights require varying ceiling height placements for excellent performance in installations. For instance, for pendant lights intended to hang over tables or countertops, an optimal hanging height is around 30-36 inches (76-91 cm).

Generally, hanging pendant lights 12-20 inches (30-50 cm) down for 8-foot (2.4 metre) ceiling heights is recommended. You can add an extra 3 inches (7.5 cm) for every additional foot (30 cm) of ceiling height.

The Cost To Install Pendant Lights

The cost to install pendant lights can vary depending on several factors. One of them is choosing to make it a DIY job. In this case, you can save on installation fees; however, it is seldomly recommended to DIY, especially in the event of electrical work.

Installation cost also depends on whether you buy the pendants or let the pendant light installer get them. If you are adding shades, specialty bulbs, or extra-large sizes, the cost per light increases. Also, consider any associated wiring and fixtures that need to be installed.

Additional Tips On How To Install A Pendant Light

The following tips can be useful in your pendant light installation process.

When hanging pendant lights

Adjust them to an appropriate height. They should not be so low that people walk into them. Ideally, you can get the best pendant lighting results when you hang them roughly 60 inches (152 cm) above the floor or 30 inches (76 cm) above the surface of your table.

You may need extra wiring

The process may need you to add some new wiring to your home. This is especially important if you are adding several more fixtures. You may have to invite a pendant light installer for this.

Avoid attaching new light fixtures on frayed wires

Worn or frayed old wires hanging from the junction box may pose a fire hazard. Rather than attach a new light fixture yourself, call an electrician.

Confirm the support is solid

Your installation location has to be structurally sound. In other words, check that a beam supports the electrical junction box. It wouldn't do to have it screwed directly into drywall.

The light fixture may crash down if it and the electrical box are not adequately supported. Also, improper support may likely be grounds for a building code violation.

New pendant light installations

Install the new pendant light in the same spot as the previous one.

Importance Of Professional Help

A pendant light installer can help you with your pendant light installation. You need a qualified electrician to install pendant lights and wiring that will meet Australian Standards.

Here are some unique services you may expect from licenced pendant light installers:

  • Timely services and competitive pricing
  • Free electrical quotes
  • Fully insured, qualified, licensed, and reputable Tradesmen. Relevant and genuine warranties
  • Remember to check for compliance certificates for electrical work.
  • Finally, the more experienced they are, the better it is.

Besides pendant lights, installers do so many other home improvement projects. This includes general electrical maintenance, power repairs, installations of pendant lights, security lighting, power outlets, downlights, and so much more.

No surprise there. After all, they usually have the necessary power tools, power equipment, or building materials. You can get a guide to electrical boxes, removing fluorescent lights, or even lighting ideas.

Hire Professional Installers

With the steps discussed above, you may have gained more insights on how to install a pendant light, but it is not advised to carry out the work yourself. Furthermore, you have read some benefits of installing pendant lights and factors affecting pendant light installation costs. Finally, you got some more installation tips and ideas on when to get a pendant light installer.

Now, you may want to upgrade your light fixtures, replace them, or even get new ones. Indeed, the variety of styles available makes it easier to customise any room to your taste. Consequently, you can go ahead and use pendant light fixtures to add more personality to your home. If you feel it's unsafe to do it yourself, hire professional help.