How to Install Semi-Flush Lights
Semi-flush lighting ranges from fixtures with globes that slightly separate from the fixture base to chandeliers with multi-faceted globes that hang as much as several feet from the base of the fixture. For more on the differences, see “Ceiling Lights: Flush and Semi-Flush Mounts” in the Resource section of this article. Read all the literature that comes with your semi-flush light fixture before beginning the installation. This will save time and aggravation. The instructions will have tips and suggestions that can make the installation process easier (e.g. "Allow the socket-end of the fixture (where the bulbs go) to rest on the top of the step ladder. This alleviates stress on the wiring during installation").
Turn the light switch for the old fixture to the off position. Place the step ladder under the old fixture. Loosen the screw(s) that hold the globe on the old lamp with a screwdriver and remove the globe and the bulbs.
Locate the screws that hold the light fixture to the ceiling. Remove them so that the fixture hangs by the wiring. Notice the black wire from the fixture is connected to the black wire coming from the ceiling. The same is true for the white wire and the bare wire.
Remove any electrical tape covering the wire connections. Unscrew the wire nuts (if applicable). Disconnect the fixture wires from the wires that come through the ceiling. Set the old fixture aside.
Strip the wires of the new semi-flush light fixture to expose at least ½ inch of bare wire, if needed. Hold the black wire from the fixture along side the black wire from the ceiling and insert the stripped ends into a wire nut. Twist the nut until it is tight and wrap the connection with electrical tape.
Repeat Step 4 connecting the white wire from the fixture with the white wire from the ceiling. Then repeat the process for the bare wire from the fixture with the bare wire from the ceiling.
Place the base of the semi-flush fixture against the ceiling and secure it according the manufacturer’s instruction. Install the light bulbs and then the globe. Turn the light switch on.
- Clear the work area of anything that can hinder the installation process.
- Be certain to support heavier fixtures when connecting the wires as the weight could pull the wire connections apart.
- Do not over tighten the globe screws against glass as the stress can crack or break the glass.
- Never work with live electricity.
- Do not leave tools unattended in the presence of children.
Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. He authored “What a Strange Little Man,” among other books, and his work has appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.
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