Home Improvement: How to Install Lighted Wall Sconces

If you want to add a touch of ambiance to a bland room, wall sconces may be just the ticket. Sconces can also add extra attractive lighting to a dim hallway. It is easiest to install them when they can be a part of a larger remodeling project. They can be installed anytime you choose to improve your lighting capabilities.

Decide where the sconces will be placed.

Once the mounting areas for the sconces are determined, mark the spots. Carefully outline where the opening for the junction boxes will be installed. You can cut this opening now or do it while you are running the wiring. Use old construction boxes. These have wings that can be opened to lock the box into the wall without having to attach them to a stud. Measure the distance from the location of the sconces to the switch that will control them.

Pick a power source for the sconces.

Will the sconces have their own circuit or be attached to an existing one? Either way will work just fine as long as an existing circuit can carry the extra load. Measure the distance that you will need to run wire from the power source to the switch. Add this to the distance from the sconces to the switch to find out how much wire you will need for the project.

Unpack the sconces and check the instructions for any special installation needs.

Not all light fixtures are made the same. You have to check the instructions to make sure that any extra assembly work can be accomplished before the installation. Complete this work before continuing. Also, make sure that you have all of the tools and hardware needed for the job.

Run any necessary wiring and install wiring boxes.

Attach the hot, ground, and neutral wires to the power source. If this requires work inside your electrical panel, turn off the main breakers before removing the panel cover. Otherwise, just turn off the breaker to the power source to avoid electrical shock. Consult instructions for your specific power installation if you have to access the inside of your breaker box.

Install the switch for the new lighting if necessary.

If the sconces will have their own light switch, you need to install it. Using the wiring inside the switch box, attach the hot wire (black or red) to one side of the switch. The wire that you attach to the other side of the switch will be the one that goes to the sconces. Connect the incoming and outgoing ground wires together with a wire nut. Do the same with the neutral wires. Push the wiring into the switch box. Gently nudge the switch into position and fasten it to the box with the screws at the top and bottom of the switch. Install the switch cover.

Attach any adapters to the box where the sconces will be installed.

Many times these types of fixtures come with an adapter that allows you to position the screws to attach the sconce to the wall so that the sconce will be level. Use a level to make sure that the adjustable part of the adapter is exactly horizontal. Tighten up any screws necessary to lock the adapter into position.

Attach the wires from the sconces to the house wiring.

Start with the black or hot wires. Expose about one inch of the ends of each wire. Hold the wires next to each other and screw a wire nut snugly onto them. Repeat this for the ground and neutral wires. Push the wires back into the junction box.

Connect the sconces to the wall.

Use the screws or other hardware furnished with the sconces to attach them to the junction boxes. Install any covers or globes and the proper type of bulbs.

Turn on the breaker and test the lights.

Return to the breaker panel and turn on the breaker. Flip the switch to turn on your new lights. Listen for any hissing sounds that might indicate a loose wire. Also, the lights should be bright and not flickering if the wiring is correct. If you suspect problems, turn off the switch and breaker and check your connections until the problem is resolved.

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