How to Install an Outdoor Light Fixture The Right Way (Tips for Beginners & Experts)
We intend this guide to be for Beginners who have never installed a light fixture before and for the more advanced people, we provided some special tips! If you're here just for special tips, then they will be easy to find as you scroll through the page.
- Flat Blade screwdriver
- Phillips Screwdriver
Lets Begin: Removal of the Old Light Fixture
If you are looking to install a light fixture in a new spot that has never had a light fixture there before, please get an electrician.
Start by turning off the power to that fixture by going to the breaker box and flipping the switch to off for that location. Attempt to turn the light on with the light switch to ensure that the power is off.
Then when removing the light fixture, start with the bulb, then loosen the mounting screws. Pro Tip: Always keep the mounting screws and nuts because this can save you a trip to the hardware store in the future, and even if the color doesn't match, try spray paint. And use your hands to unscrew the mounting nut so you don't damage the finish.
Make sure when you're unscrewing the mounting screws you or a supportive friend/spouse is hold the fixture from falling after you loosen the screws.
To get to the wiring you might have to remove the mounting plate, so go ahead and loosen it to get access to the wires.
There are 3 different types of wires, Ground (Brown or Naked wire), Hot (black), and Neutral (white). All you really need to know for installing light fixtures is Ground goes to Ground, Hot to Hot, and Neutral to Neutral.
Now that you've got the wires from behind the Mounting plate, remove the wiring caps starting with the Hot wire, then Neutral, and then Ground. Pro Tip: So you don't lose the wiring caps and have them handy for install, gently screw the caps onto the wires running into the house.
You'll notice that ground wire is attached to the mounting frame, there should be a screw there holding it on, simply loosen it and wiggle the wire off. Now place the old fixture in the garbage. ahhh that feels good...
Let's Install The New Fixture!
Preparation, the key to success in life and successfully installing this light fixture. Get all the hardware out of the box and with you at the installation site. Remove any hardware or brackets still left from the old fixture, your new fixture should contain everything you need for installation.
Step 1: Place the mounting bracket onto the mounting screws, put the wiring either through the middle or around the side depending on the type of mount but make sure you have easy access to the wiring. Screw the bracket down but not too tight because we are going to use a level to ensure it's not slanted. Pro Tip: If you have an iPhone (most of you should or at least your significant other was smart and has one.) Go to the Measure App on the phone and Swipe over to Level.
Now level the mounting bracket and once level, tighten down the screws!
When connecting wires, start with the Ground wire on your house. There should be a screw on the mounting bracket (sometimes the screw is green), wrap the Ground wire around it until it makes a U, then tighten the screw.
Now get your fixture and unwrap the wires connected to the fixture. The wires should come prestripped, so Pro Tip: twist the uncovered ends of the wire so the ends of the wires don't fray, make sure they are tight, it should be like a solid piece of wire.
Time to wire the fixture to the house, you or helper should hold the fixture close to house with wires easily accessible. Remove the cap of the Ground wire on your house and then grab your Ground wire on your light fixture. Pro Tip: To help get a strong connect between wires, have the wire from the Light Fixture slightly forward than the wire connected to the house. This is become when you screw on the wire cap it will push down your Light Fixture wire.
Repeat this same step with the Neutral (White) wire and then lastly the Hot (Black) wire. My Favorite Tip: Now when pushing the wires back into the house behind the mounting bracket, tilt the wire cap slightly up, so water does run into the cap.
Now put the fixture on the wall, lining up the mounting screws with the holes on the fixture and then tightening the fixture using the Decorative Nuts. To help the fixture remain level (vertically) lightly lift the bottom of the fixture while you tighten the nuts.
Your Fixture is Installed, Go Ahead and Turn That Power Back On!
If you're mounting your fixture on a vinyl block or a material that can warp. Check the edges between the fixture and house, if there are open spaces use some caulk to seal that space so water doesn't leak into your wiring.
And you're done, enjoy the rest of the day! :)