Let There Be Light


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15 minutes.  That;s all it takes to install a new ceiling light in the kitchen.  How do I know this?  Is says so on the box.  All I need is fifteen minutes and a screwdriver.  I happen to have both.  Let’s get this baby up.

The first thing I do is get the directions out of the box and read them.  There are only three steps.  Easy enough.  I check the packing list against the parts in in box to make sure everything is there.  One Housing Assembly – check.  One Diffuser – check. Two circline Lamps – check. Two Short Screws – check.  Two Long Screws – check. Three Wire nuts – check. One crossbar – check.  Nothing is missing.

Before I put the new fixture up I must first take down the old one.  Since I did put this one up several years ago ti was just a matter of reversing the steps I followed when installing it.  First, though, I need to make sure the poser is off.  I enlist Kathy’s help.  I turn on the other lights in the area an go down to the circuit breaker.  Kathy lets me know when all of the lights are off.

Now, on to step one.  Install the crossbar to the junction box with the two short screws.  Since the box and crossbar are already there, I can skip this step.  Not even five minutes into the project and I am already finished with step one.  I am on a roll.

Step Two – Check that the black, white, and green wires are extending from the back of the housing assembly.  They are.  Remove the diffuser from the housing assembly.  I can do that.  Oh-oh.  What’s that noise?  Oh no!  the diffuser is cracked and chipped.  A piece of it fell onto the floor.  It is broken.  I can’t use it.  It has to go back.  Well, I know that they had a second one at the store yesterday when we bought this one.  

OK. Pack up the broken light, take a quick shower. and head out to Lowe’s, a thirty minute ride each way.  I can’t just make an even exchange because what I am returning is broken.  I have to get a refund and then buy new.  This time, however, I have the salesperson open the box and make sure nothing is damaged.  It is good, so I head out to the car and go home.

After an hour I am ready to pick up where I left off.  Continue with step two.  Holding the housing assembly in one hand use a wire nut to attach the two green wires to the copper ground wire.  How do I hold an awkward assembly in one hand while trying to corral three wires and connect them.  I need two more hands. “Kathy!”  Kathy gets on a chair and holds the assembly while I attach all of the wires.  It wasn’t stated on the box that four hands were required.  I get all of the wires attached and the fixture is dangling by the wires.

Step three.  Attach long screws to the crossbar and attach the housing assembly to these screws. I can do that only there are four holes in the crossbar and they don’t tell you which two to use.  Of course, I pick the wrong two and have to remove them and put them in the other holes.  Now all I have to do is align the holes on the housing assembly with the heads of the screws, slip the assembly over them, and tighten the screws.

Not as easy as it sounds.  First of all I am working on a ladder with my head tilted back trying to find the heads of screws through two ting holes.  I don’t know how many times I had to stop because my neck was getting sore.  After about ten minutes I had success.

Now all I had to do was attach the diffuser.


Now for the big test.  I go back downstairs and flick all of the circuit breakers back on.  I come back up and stand by the light switch.  Kathy is folding laundry so I wait until she comes back out. I ask her if she would like to do the honors.  She declines

Let there be light!





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8 responses to “Let There Be Light

  1. It may have taken more time than 15 minutes, but you didn’t quit, and the light is up. Switching it on must have felt good.

  2. Ha! this post gave me a laugh. I am pretty handy, but there are numerous items around our house that we would not have if it were not for my husband’s mechanical aptitude and shear stubbornness, including our house (log home kit) itself. 15 minutes 🙂

  3. Hooray! There is light! What a process! Is there ever a job that doesn’t seem to have some kind of issue involved? I doubt it. A lovely light it is. Now let’s hope this will last for many, many years.

  4. You must have known I could relate to this post of yours today. This is a job I would never try to tackle….fear of messing up the wires…even though I know the directions are there. How frustrating to have to return to the store…and of course, the exchange was not a simple one…but now you have light….and what a nice design it is.

  5. Woohoo! You did it! I had to help my landlord replace a light fixture (that looks similar to yours) not too long ago. The brand new bulb he put in was dead, and then he couldn’t get the cover back off to put in a different new bulb, so I had to come in and hold the base steady while he yanked at the cover until it finally came off! These stories provide an answer to the age-old question, how many people does it take to change a light fixture? The answer is, always more than the box says!

  6. Jaana

    The light looks great! Mine would still be in the box. Kudos to you for completed job!

  7. Somehow I knew that there would be a universal….never easy project. Nice fixture….great choice. Did you leave it one all day and bask in the job’s completion?

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