Change out canned light to small chandelier?

dazzlemewithcolorMarch 9, 2011

I have a canned/recessed light that I would like to replace myself with a small chandelier. I have some experience with replacing light fixtures, but never replaced a can to a chandelier. What are the how to's for this project?

Thanks in advance!

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There are two issues here, physical mounting, and electrical power.

For physical mounting, you must have a box that is sufficient to hold the weight of the chandelier. Most of the time that requires replacing a standard box with a box designed specifically for chandeliers and ceiling fans. It's not a huge job to replace a box, but it can be a bit tricky depending on the way your house is framed.

On the electrical side, it's important to verify that the existing circuit has enough power to supply your new chandelier. The easiest way to do this is to turn off the circuit breaker for the existing light, and then add up the wattage of all of fixtures that are no longer powered (including the new chandelier, less the fixture being removed). If it's a 15 amp circuit breaker, you don't want to exceed 1440 watts (80% of the circuit capacity). If you need less than 1440 watts, you can use the existing circuit. If your needs now exceed 1440 (1920 for a 20A circuit), you'll need to install a new circuit. If there are receptacles on the same circuit with the lights, I would recommend that you include any devices that are normally "plugged in" to your calculations.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 4:23PM
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"For physical mounting, you must have a box that is sufficient to hold the weight of the chandelier."

Most chandeliers fo r residential use are well under the weight that requires any special box or mounting.

Even though it is more than needed, a fan brace and box are often the easiest way to change 0ut from a can light.

The braces are designed to be installed through an octagon box size opening in the ceiling.

They extend to anchor into the joists, and then have a solidly mounted box that will carry just about any residential chandelier.

For around $20 you get more than needed and a simple installation.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 7:09PM
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The issue is to remove the can light and replace it with a regular round box for the wiring and sufficient to hold the weight of the chandelier.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:18AM
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One point not mentioned you may need to do a little sheetrock patching. The opening for the can may be larger than what is required for the light.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 7:15AM
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The can itself is not difficult to remove. Looking up into the can you should see 3 small screws remove them and the part that holds the bulb will slide out. Once removed you can work through the hole in the ceiling to remove the can support and add the box to support the new light.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 7:23AM
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Thank you for all the help. The chandelier is really quite tiny so I don't think the weight will be an issue.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 8:08PM
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