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Installing Pendant Lights Over a Kitchen Island

pendant-lighting-kitchen-charlotte-ncWalking into your new home’s kitchen might make you take a step back and admire the lighting. Recessed lighting in a kitchen adds to the decor, but even as your eyes dance over the countertops and the appliances, you realize something’s missing. What takes a kitchen’s lighting to the next level? Most professional electricians will advise you that pendant lighting is the little extra “oomph” a kitchen might need to be truly spectacular. Pendant lights are pretty simple to source, and if you’re in the mood for updating your lighting, they’re an affordable solution. But do you need an electrician to install them?

Is a Pendant Lights DIY Install Safe?

Most homeowners who look at home improvement shows think that things like electrical wiring or plumbing don’t need a professional. Just call one in after you complete the job to give it a once-over and a certificate, right? Well, it’s not nearly that simple. Trained and certified electricians have a procedure they work with. Their familiarity with electrical fixtures and the safety procedures involved in this sort of work makes them a better choice than trying to do electrical installations yourself.

Electrical installations require knowledge of the tools used, and the process for isolating a circuit safely. While DIY practitioners can read a book or watch a video, the minute they start playing around with electrical circuits, they risk electrical shock. It doesn’t take a lot of electricity to cause death. Professional electricians are a far better solution for your pendant light installation. If you decide to install pendant lights yourself despite the danger involved, you should know the steps professional electricians go through.

ceiling-fan-wiring-charlotteHow to Install Pendant Lights

STEP 1: Check the Box Contents: Remove the fixture and all the components from the box you bought them in. Make sure you take stock of all the accessories you have.

STEP 2: Isolate the Circuit: Turn off the power from the fuse box or the circuit breaker. Make sure to do this before proceeding to ensure that you don’t inadvertently cause yourself electrical shock. Make sure to test the circuit with a voltmeter to reassure yourself that the power is off.

STEP 3: Run the Wires: From the fuse box, run the wires to where you need the pendant lights installed. This step might also require installing a new junction box if you don’t already have one close enough to use. During this phase, you’ll also introduce any switches you may want to use to control the light.

STEP 4: Cut the Holes: Once you’re measured the location and know where you want the lights to fit, you cut the holes to allow for the installation of the fixture.

STEP 5: Installation: Wiring the fixture follows standard home electrical rules. Connect the wires that run from the junction box to the correct locations on the fixture: black to black, white to white. Finally, attach the ground wire from the fixture to the ground screw at the junction box. Finally, screw in the installation tightly.

STEP 6: Testing: Turn the power back on from the circuit breaker or fuse box and test the switch. If the light works, congratulations, you did it! If it doesn’t, then you may be facing any number of issues, from poor wiring to a potential short circuit. Turn off the power from the circuit breaker or fuse box and call a professional immediately.

Important Points to Note

When installing your lighting, the ceiling determines how widely spaced your lights should be. At an 8′ ceiling, pendant lights should have a handing height of between 12″ and 20″. For each additional foot of ceiling, add 3″ to the hanging height. If you intend to install your pendant lights over an island or countertop, you should be looking at 30″ to 36″ from the surface. For short islands, you should maintain a minimum of 30″ between the lights with a 6″ buffer zone from the edge of the counter.

You don’t need to go through all these measurements and wiring details yourself, however. LiveWire is glad to help you. Our trained staff has done hundreds of pendant light installations, and we’d be more than happy to lend our expertise to your lighting project. Contact us today to arrange a site visit or find out more!

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