Does My Chandelier Need Re-Wiring?
If you have an old chandelier, it may need to be re-wired. Here, we’ll look at how to know a fixture needs new wiring, and whether you’re better off calling an electrician. But re-wiring a chandelier doesn’t have to be that complicated. It can also breathe new life into your treasured fixture.
Signs of faulty chandelier wiring include:
- The light is dimmer than it used to be.
- Bulbs are flickering on and off.
- You need to replace bulbs more often.
Of course, there are other signs of bad wiring to look for, such as burning odors, buzzing or humming sounds, or the fixture is warm to the touch. A chandelier is a centerpiece that adds a unique charm to the room. When properly cared for, it can last longer than most other light fixtures, but loose, corroded, or broken wires can turn a chandelier into more of a nuisance if not a danger.
What to Do When Your Chandelier Needs Re-Wiring
Unless you have some electrical knowledge and skill, it’s best to leave this kind of work to a professional electrician. But here’s a general look at how to re-wire a chandelier to help you understand what’s involved:
- Turn Off the Circuit: Go to the electrical panel, find the breaker switch for the chandelier circuit, and switch it off. Use a circuit tester at the fixture to verify there’s no power. If it indicates the current is flowing, check whether you turned off the right circuit breaker.
- Loosen the Fixture: Loosen the rounded base or another component that secures the chandelier to the ceiling. Slide it to the bottom hub. Three wires should be exposed, including a copper ground wire, white neutral/earth wire, and yellow hot wire. Remove the wire connectors and unwrap electrical tape if present while supporting the fixture. Don’t let it hang by the wires or you may require additional electrical repair.
- Unscrew the Chandelier: Use the threaded nipple to loosen the chandelier and remove it from its mounting. If it’s a newer fixture, it will be attached by an electrical box to the ceiling with a mounting strap holding the threaded nipple. Pull the wires through each arm of the chandelier, measure the length of each wire, and add 1” (this accounts for wire stripping to be done later).
- Disconnect the Wiring: Depending on the fixture, the wiring will be exposed once the dome is removed, or it may be contained under a cap. Follow the owner’s manual or method and configuration of your chandelier for the exact procedure for removing exposed wires. Remove the wires and socket housings.
- Install the New Wire: Cut each lamp wire to size and thread it through each arm. Strip off ½” of plastic insulation to expose the wire; split it and group the neutral and live wires together. Twist the ends of these together in a clockwise direction; then twist a wire connector on top of them and make sure all wire strands are contained inside.
On the new socket, connect the neutral wire to the silver screw and the hot wire to the brass screw. The wire should be wound clockwise around the socket screws before these are tightened. Now you can place the socket in its housing and thread any remaining wire through the arm. Some excess wire should remain in the fixture’s center.
- Group the Wires: Once all the arms are re-wired, the main wire at the top should split into the neutral and live wires leading to the bulbs. You’ll need a lamp cord rated to handle the total power of the chandelier’s bulbs. This is what will connect to the branch circuit for the fixture.
- Reassemble the Fixture: Once all the wires are connected, and the main wire threaded through the top of the chandelier, secure the fixture to the ceiling. Use socket covers to cover the chandelier socket, and screw in the light bulbs. You can now turn on the power and your chandelier is ready to use.
Contact a Professional for Help Re-Wiring Your Chandelier
Whether you run into complications or aren’t comfortable with wiring/re-wiring work, Express Electrical Services can help. We specialize in lighting upgrades, including re-wiring the largest and most complex chandeliers. For assistance in Los Angeles and Southern California, call us at 323-727-7799 or request service on the web.