Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How to Hang A Chandelier

In my quest to become quite the accomplished handy-girl, I can finally check off another task, hanging a chandelier. The overall process is very easy to do, but there are some parts that become a little of an annoyance.

Here is what our old chandelier looked like. As with everything in our house, it's the 1987 original. Don't you just love the tulip edging on the glass....I think not!
First of all I would like to start out with saying that I am not an electrician and no where close to ever becoming one. My husband helped me through the whole process and he has done a lot of electrical work throughout his life, so it was nice to have someone with experience help me out.

First of all, always turn off the electricity to the circuit you're working on at the main electrical panel. Unless you want to get shocked and injured, make SURE the power is off!

Next start with removing the old fixture. This usually involves taking off the canopy (the round metal plate that hides the wires) to the chandelier. Look at your wires. You should have a white wire, a black wire, possibly a red wire, and a copper wire. Unscrew all of the twist off connectors. Note the placement of the ground wires (the copper ones) when removing the old fixture. Mine were twisted together and attached around a screw, which is pretty typical. Also, I had a red wire, which you might not have. It was just by itself and had a connector on it. I am not sure what this was for (assuming a ceiling fan wire if wanted) and I didn't ask.
Pull the wiring from your current chandelier out of the "nipple". (You can tell a man named this part of the fixture, it's the round metal tube with rivets that attach the wires into the through the junction box.) All of your wires should be loose now, like below.
Next, set up your new chandelier. You will have to read your manufacturer's directions for this part, it will vary from chandelier to chandelier. My set up involved cutting the chain down to the correct length, fishing the wire through the chain, and then attaching the canopy to the chain. I also had to cut off the wire that came with the chandelier because it was too long, but it's good to leave about 1 foot of additional wire beyond the the chain length to install in the ceiling. You will need wire cutters and wire strippers for this part.
Next feed your new wires through the nipple in the ceiling mount. This part is perfect for a woman's small hands. My husband always has problems with this because you have to put your fingers above the metal bar and pull your wires down. Tiny fingers help out a lot!
Use wire cutters to clip the new chandelier's double wire to make same length as the wires currently in your ceiling. Pull the ends of the double wire apart to separate about 2-3 inches of the two wires. Strip the now separated double wires of your new chandelier so there is about 1/2 inch exposed of just wire. There is a third wire, a slender copper wire, it's the grounding for the fixture.
Now comes the twisting part. Twist the two copper wires together (the ground) and attach the wires where your ground wires were before. Mine were around a screw. I had a red wire coming out that just had a connector on it. I replace it with a new connector and left that alone. Connect your double wires from your new chandelier to the white and black wires in the ceiling. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you read your manufacturer's directions on what wire goes with what color. On my double wire, one wire had a smooth coating and the other a ribbed coating. The ribbed coated wire went with the white and the smooth wire went with the black. It will vary, so make sure you read your directions. Twist your wires together and slide the wire connectors over both ends and twist to tighten. Push the house wires and connectors back into the ceiling junction box.
Put the canopy in place and then turn the hanger nut until the fixture canopy is securely fitted to ceiling. This is where the annoyance comes in, when you turn the hanger it is helpful to have someone turning the chandelier chain below. If not your chain gets all bunched up.
Adjust your chandelier chain as needed and your done!! Easy, simple, and quite the upgrade from the old!!!


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