If you’re in the midst of a renovation or simply rearranging your floor plan, then you’ve likely come across the need to add or relocate a light fixture. Maybe your new dining room table is a little wider than the old one, you’re adding a kitchen island with pendant lights, or you’ve finally convinced your significant other to let you get that pool table you’ve always wanted. In any case, you need to move or add a light fixture – but how and when?

Everything You Don’t Know About Electrical Above Your Ceiling

First, it should be noted that, contrary to how it may seem, most light fixtures are not connected to a joist or even drilled into wood. Instead, hanging light fixtures and ceiling lights alike are located between joists and supported by electrical boxes that grip a wide surface area of the sheetrock that makes up your ceiling to support the weight of the fixture below; for heavier fixtures, like large chandeliers or ceiling fans, there are larger, even joist-secured boxes that will need to be used.

Jumping for Joists

If you’re moving a light fixture, it is important to note that there are certain limitations as to where the fixture itself can go. If you wish to relocate the fixture to a place where a joist exists just above, then you’re likely going to have to use a swag hook and chain to anchor the fixture in place, as a box under a joist is not an option. That said, if you’re moving the housing for the fixture itself, you’ll need to know which direction the joists above run, then choose to move it either through the same joist cavity or drill through a joist to run the current wiring to the new housing. Other things to consider include which switch controls the light and where it is located, as it is a safe bet that a wire will have already crossed all joists above (at some point). This can prevent your electrician from drilling needlessly by allowing them to fish the wire back to the earlier point. If your switch is further away than the destination, you can bet they’ll have to do some drilling. Jumping through, between, and around the joists in the ceiling represents the largest obstacle your electrician (and light fixture) will face.

Weight, Size, Placement

Once your location is set, all that is left is to get your electrician out to assess and perform the work for moving your box. If you’re planning on doing one large fixture over a pool table, island, or entire room, then you’ll want to take into account the power output of the fixture compared to what that circuit can safely allow for as well as the weight of the fixture. A typical rule of thumb is that anything under about 35 pounds can be handled by a standard drywall box, but something more (or with a fan) will need extra stabilization. Surprisingly, if you’re running numerous small pendant lights, the electrician may have an even easier time running the circuit and ensuring that your lights are up and running in no time. Just be sure to discuss the fixtures you have in mind with your electrician before you purchase them to know what they believe your limitations are!

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Whenever you need electrical work done around your Des Moines home, contact the experienced professionals at Electrical Gurus. We are proud to offer the finest licensed local electricians in the area and are always more than happy to help out on your household projects.

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