How To Remove A Ceiling Light Fixture — 4 Easy Steps To Take

It is true that ceiling light fixtures are very elegant electrical appliances, and are amazing at home improvement, but at one point or the other, we may have to take them out.

Whether because they are too old, or because we want a new look, or just because we feel like.

Well, for whatever reason you may want to, this article will show you how you can remove a ceiling light fixture without any help from an electrician or a handyman.

How To Remove  A Ceiling Light Fixture
Photo by Michael Browning on Unsplash

Stuff You May Need

Step ladder: of course, you will need to be elevated, so, this is very important. Make sure that the ladder is firm against the floor and is not shaky at all. A firm stool could suffice in the absence of a stepladder.

Screwdriver: you will need this for the screws in the light fixture and the fixture base.

Voltage tester: you don’t want to be making contact with live electrical wires, so, it is important that you first test every wire in the electrical box to ensure that they are all dead before you even begin any work at all.

Non-Contact Voltage Tester with Adjustable Sensitivity, LCD Display, LED Flashlight, Buzzer Alarm, Dual Range 12V-1000V/48V-1000V & Live/Null Wire Judgment - Tacklife VT02

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Headlamp: remember that you are about to take out the ceiling light fixture which is probably the only source of light for that room. So, you will need another source of light. A headlamp is recommended because it is very convenient to use. Anyway, if the room is illuminated enough without the light fixture, then you can do without this.

How You Can Remove A Ceiling Light Fixture By Yourself

1. Turn Off The Power

This is the standard first step any time you have to deal with electrical appliances, whether you are taking out an old fixture or you are installing a new one.

Go to the fuse box for your home and turn off the circuit breaker which is labelled as the room you will be working in. If no circuit in your fuse box is labeled, then you will have to try a couple of different switches until you get the right one.

Or it may just be safer for you to turn off the power to the entire apartment until you are done removing the ceiling light fixture.

Now, go to the room and turn the switch that controls the light on and off a couple of times to be double sure that it is off. Make sure to leave the switch at “off”, though. 

Again, do not touch any wire until you are sure that it is dead. Live wires can be very dangerous!

The room is probably really dark now the lights have been turned off, so, put on your headlamp, climb up your ladder, and get to the ceiling.

2. Take Out The Light Bulbs

How To Remove A Ceiling Light Fixture
Photo by Duangphorn Wiriya on Unsplash

Now, except they are fluorescent bulbs, ensure that you give the bulbs some time to cool off — maybe about 15 to 20 minutes — before you touch them.

If the light was on just before you climbed up there, then chances are that the light bulb is still very hot. And trying to remove it when it is still like that could hurt you or cause you to break the bulb.

If you have felt the bulbs and they are now at room temperature, then you can proceed to take them out by gently twisting them leftward.

While you do this, make sure you have a good grip on the bulb so that it does not slip out of your palm once it comes off.

For some fixtures, you will have to first remove the glass cover bowl before you will be able to get access to the bulbs.

Most of them are secured by two screws or maybe a couple of knobs, so, undo each screw carefully while you place a hand underneath the ball so they don’t just fall off.

Once every screw is out, twist gently till the bowl is free, then put it out of the way. Now you can attend to the light bulbs.

3. Detach The Fixture Base From The Mounting Bracket

After you have set the light bulbs down, the next step will be to remove every screw that holds the fixture base against the ceiling. 

Once the fixture base is loose, you will now be faced with the electrical box and the wires within — the black, the white, and the ground wire (there could be more wires in the box depending on what fixture that is, but it doesn’t matter).

Before you start doing anything with the wires, use your voltage tester to test them to be sure they are not live. Yes, you already turned power off, but still test them so that you are double sure. It is much safer that way.

If the wires are dead, then you can go on and disconnect the fixture wires from the ceiling wires in the electrical box.

But before you can do that, you will have to first remove the wire nuts (or in some cases, electrical tapes) that hold the wires together.

If the wire nuts are in good shape, you could keep them and use them with other wires or maybe for when you want to install a new fixture.

Anyway, after you are done disconnecting the ground wire, white wire, as well as the black wire in the electrical box, you can now set the fixture down gently. You may need assistance in setting it down if it is a very heavy fixture.

Also, be mindful of the hole in the ceiling once the old light fixture is out of the way. It is very likely that there will be bugs and dust falling down from the hole in the ceiling once the light fixture has been removed.

How To Remove A Ceiling Light Fixture
Photo by Shiraz Khan on Unsplash

4. Remove The Mounting Bracket And Then The Fixture Plate

With your screwdriver, loosen the screws holding the mounting bracket and the fixture plate together. 

Or you could leave them there actually if you want to. A new fixture that will be installed at any time in the future could use that same bracket. Or if you decide not to use it, it might be better to take it out just before installing the new one.

Once this is done, congratulations, you have successfully removed your light fixture without the help of a pro.

If you are not yet ready to install a new ceiling fixture, then it is important that you keep the light switch off until you are ready to. 

Anyway, if you want to fix a new fixture immediately, then check out this article to see how you can do that easily, i.e., install a new light fixture.

If the plan is to replace the old light fixture with a ceiling fan, then check out this article, it has all the steps you will need regarding how to do just that.

PS: do not feel pressured to do any of this on your own. If you get nervous around wires and electrical stuff, or perhaps you just cannot get around even undoing a screw, then maybe you should just outsource it. Call an electrician to do the work for you.

Anyway, if you are looking to purchase a new light fixture to replace the one you just removed, here is one for under 50 dollars.

KingSo Industrial Metal Pendant Light, Spherical Pendant Light, Rustic Chandelier Vintage Hanging Cage Globe Ceiling Light Fixture for Kitchen Island Dining Room Farmhouse Entryway Foyer Table Hallway

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