Handyman Wednesday: Installing an Outdoor Wall Light

Well, we have this light for our backyard that’s a few years past its prime.  In a word, it’s UGLY.  Check this thing out:

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Recently, the bulb inside of it went “kaput”, so instead of replacing the fancy halogen bulb, we just decided to replace the fixture.  Hello Home Depot!

Today, I’ve decided to show to steps to replacing the old light with a much more stylish one we found for only $33 (In silver, not ORB as shown).  Sorry for the iPhone pictures!

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Step 1: TURN OFF POWER!  Then, get rid of that old thing!  Unscrew the orange wire nuts and toss the light in the trash (or recycling).  Then, unscrew the plate that held the old fixture in.

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Step 2: Clean it out.  Especially if it looks gross like ours.  Dry flammable material should be nowhere near electrical.

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Step 3: Install your new bracket.  There should be directions on how to do this with your light, but for most, it’s simply screwing in a metal bracket diagonally across the junction box.

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Step 4: Connect wires.  Clean off the old white and black wires with a metal brush so they’re shiny.  Then, wrap the white wires around each other.  After that, screw a wire-nut on them and wrap in electrical tape.  It’s important to keep twisting them a few rounds below the wire nut so they won’t come apart.  Repeat with black wires.  Then, connect the ground wire (if you have one), the the green screw on the bracket.

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Step 5: Mount your light.  This is usually just screwing something for the light fixture into the bracket you installed in Step 3.  Ours had two screws that poked through the fixture that we put caps on.

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Step 6: Screw in a light bulb.  Make a joke about how many ________ it takes to screw in a light bulb.  Use a CFL (as shown) or LED light for longer life and lower power consumption.

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Step 7: Install your housing over your light bulb.  For us, it was an antique glass orb first, then a metal grate over it.  The orb is held in place by three screws on the top of the metal shade.

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Step 8:  Put outdoor sealing caulk around the top 3/4 of base of the fixture.  This way, water will not be able to penetrate the electrical housing.  Leaving the bottom 1/4 open will allow any accidental water that does get in to drain out.  This is VERY important.  Not pictured because I didn’t have time to do it this morning.  I will be doing it tonight.

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Hope you like our finished light!

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What have you installed lately?  Any upgrades planned for exterior lighting (Porch, Balcony, Backyard, Alley?).  Isn’t is light fixture awesome!

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4 thoughts on “Handyman Wednesday: Installing an Outdoor Wall Light

  1. Pingback: A Little Year in Review: 2012 | Little House. Big Heart.

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