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How to Install a Chandelier With Transparent Wiring

Paul Massey

Adding or replacing a lighting chandelier can add a fresh look and improved lighting. Often, manufacturers wire the fixture using clear or transparent wire sheathing, and following a simple method to ensure the fixture is wired correctly will guarantee a safe installation.

  1. Turn off the electrical current to the fixture location. Do not turn the circuit back on until the light fixture is fully installed.

  2. Install the base mounting plate provided by the fixture manufacturer, usually a circular metal plate with various slots in it to accommodate the various mounting screw spacings available. Secure the mounting plate and feed the fixture wiring through the middle opening in the plate. Typical house wiring will have two 12-gauge wires, a white common or “hot," wire and a black “neutral” wire for the circuit, as well as a copper ground wire connected to the electrical box by a green screw and plate.

  3. Position the chandelier close enough to the fixture box to connect the fixture’s power and ground wires. The chandelier’s power wires are in transparent sheathing, making the wire color visible; typically, one is copper and one is aluminum or silver-colored. Use a wire stripper or utility knife to strip ½ inch of sheathing from each of the chandelier’s wires.

  4. Connect the silver wire to the black circuit wire in the ceiling junction box and connect the copper wire to the white circuit wire, using wire nuts.

  5. Cut a strip of vinyl electrical tape to wrap the wire nuts and about ½ inch of the joined wires. Wire nuts can occasionally slip loose when the wires are moved and the electrical tape helps prevent any accidental exposure of the wires as the light fixture is secured in place.

  6. Secure the chandelier’s copper ground wire to the ceiling junction box. Loosen the grounding screw with the circuit’s ground wire connected. Loop the chandelier’s ground wire around the screw and tighten to hold both grounding wires.

  7. Push the connected wiring into the ceiling junction box as you position the chandelier's ceiling sconce over the box and insert the screws through the sconce, threading them into the mounting plate installed in Step 2. Tighten to bring the sconce tight against the ceiling surface. Do not overtighten.