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Install a Ceiling Light and Switch

Dim Wits

Now that we've seen how to make basic electrical connections, it's time to actually make some connections. We'll start wiring boxes at the dimmer switch, using screw-on connectors.

Connect the white wires from each cable. Attach one black wire on the dimmer to a black wire coming from the outlet. Connect the other black wire to the black wire going to the light.

To ground the dimmer box, connect both bare wires. If the box is metal, these wires also should connect to a short bare wire going to a ground screw or clip on the box.

Now screw the dimmer switch to the box.

Rewire the Outlet

With the dimmer in place, let's get some power to the dimmer. Don't be tempted to connect all wires to screws of the receptacle. Instead, connect the wires to short wire “pigtails,” which are then connected to the receptacle.

With the receptacle connected, screw it in place and test it. A circuit tester must light between the short (hot) slot and a) the long (grounded) slot, and b) the round (equipment grounding) hole. The tester must not light between the long slot and the round hole!

This Light Is Lit

Finally we move to the last box—the one holding the light. First connect the wires.

The final steps in the process are easy:

  1. Follow the instructions for mounting the light fixture.

  2. Screw face plates on the receptacle and light switch.

  3. Turn the circuit back on and make sure the switch operates the light.

  4. Touch the circuit tester to the light body and the round hole of a grounded extension cord. If the light lights, you have made a serious wiring mistake—turn the circuit off and check that black goes to black, and white to white.

  5. If the tester does not light, congratulations. You are finished!



<< Previous: Finish the job
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Improvements © 2004 by David J. Tenenbaum. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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