How to Install Ceiling Pot Lights

Ceiling pot lights are a great way to add ambiance to any room. Recessed lights using pot lights can replace any ceiling mounted light fixture. The fact that they need no joists to attach to makes them an excellent project for the do-it-yourself homeowner.

Install A Ceiling Pot Light
  1. Determine the electrical junction box for the existing light. Disconnect the power from the junction box by turning the circuit breaker off at the electrical panel. Turn the light switch on and off to make sure that the power is disconnected.

  2. Trace an outline of the ceiling pot light fixture onto the ceiling using a pencil. Locate where you want to place the light and trace the outside of the top of the fixture. Drill a hole at the edge of the outline.

  3. Climb into your attic or crawl space, taking the 12/2 Romex wire and wire strippers with you. Locate the drill hole and sure that there are no joists or electrical wires that will be in the way of cutting a hole.

  4. Disconnect the wires from the junction box to the old light fixture by unscrewing the plastic wire caps.

  5. Measure out enough Romex wire to reach from the existing junction box and the location of your ceiling pot light and add 12 inches.

  6. Cut the Romex wire according to your measurement using the wire strippers.

  7. Remove 1/4 inch of insulation from the ends of your cut piece of wire using the wire strippers.

  8. Connect one end of the wire to the existing junction box using plastic wire nuts. Set the other end of the wire close to where the hole will be cut but far enough away that you will not accidentally cut it. Go back to the room where the light is being installed.

  9. Cut the hole according to your outline using a drywall saw.

  10. Reach your hand into the hole and pull the end of the Romex wire through the hole.

  11. Insert the cable through the junction box on the can light fixture.

  12. Connect the wires to the junction box by using plastic wire caps.

  13. Tighten the Romex cable to the junction box by tightening the cable clamp with a screwdriver.

  14. Insert the junction part of the ceiling can light first and then carefully insert the can fixture until the springs pop into place above the ceiling.

  15. Attach the trim baffle by snapping it into place or attaching it with screws according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  16. Install appropriate-size light bulb.

  17. Turn the power back on to the existing junction box by turning the circuit breaker back on.

  18. Tip

    The old light fixture can be removed or it can be left in place. If the existing hole is smaller than your ceiling pot light, you could remove the fixture first and install the ceiling pot light in its place.


    Always disconnect the power before working with electricity.