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Installing Recessed Lights

Materials List
Drywall screws
Protector plates for fishing cables through joists
Joint compound
wire connectors to secure connections
Electrical cable: It is important that you use the same gauge wire as you a
Recessed lighting system
- Remodeling Cans
- Insulated Ceiling (I.C.) Cans or Non-IC Cans
- Downlights or Eyeball Lights
Tools List (click item to shop)
Electrical tester
Coat hanger
Stud Finder

IMPORTANT: Read this before you start

Installing recessed lighting into your kitchen or living room creates an immediate update to the look of your home! Recessed lighting is very low-key, makes a subtle statement, and yet is elegantly modern. If you are looking for an update to your home's lighting, think: "recessed."

There are many options available in the design and functionality of recessed lighting. You will be able to brighten rooms and direct lighting to key areas such as a countertop or cooking area. This tutorial assumes you have an existing electrical ceiling fixture that you can tap into to get power from. Keep in mind that if you are installing into an area with insulation (such as a ceiling below an attic), you will need to use Insulated Ceiling (I.C.) cans that can be used in areas where insulation will abut the lighting housing. When you buy your recessed lighting cans, be sure that you purchase the appropriate kind for your application - either for existing ceilings or for exposed joists.

Skill Level & Time To Complete
• Beginner - 5 to 6 hours
• Intermediate - 4 to 5 hours
• Advanced - 3 to 4 hours

Be sure to turn of power at your circuit box before starting any electrical project.

Be certain that your existing circuit will be able to handle the new load of your recessed lights.

Helpful Tips
Some municipalities may require that you obtain a permit before performing this work.

You should have a licensed electrician inspect your work before you reestablish power.

1. Your first task is to decide on the type of lighting that you wish to use in your ceiling and where the lighting will be installed. You will also need to decide on the visual look you are going for with your new lighting. Eyeball type lighting can be directed to particular areas of your room. Downlights will cast a more general light.
2. You should space your lights about 6-7 feet apart to get a good overall coverage in your room. Determine where the joists are in your room so that you can place your lights accordingly. Keep in mind that if you place all your lights between the same two joists, you will have less trouble running wire than if you place them between different joists. To make an easy installation, minimize the number of joists that you have to run wire through.
3. Before you start the construction portion of the project, cover or remove all furniture and cover the floor with a drop cloth, as you will make quite a dusty mess installing your recessed lights. You may also want to cover interior doors to contain your dust and open outside windows.
4. Shut the power off at the main service panel before doing any work on your electrical system.
5. Your next step is to remove and disconnect your existing fixture. Unscrew the wire connectors to release the fixture from the incoming wire. Be sure to test that the power is off with your electric tester light before handling the bare wires directly. The incoming wire (from the electrical box) is the one that will supply power to your new recessed lights.
6. You will need at least 7" to 8" above your ceiling with most recessed lighting cans. Drill a hole where you wish to install your lighting, and be sure that you have that much space with a wire coat hanger. Also be sure that you know where your joists are with a hanger and a stud finder. The housing for the lights will go between these joists.
7. Using the manufacturer's template, mark the openings and cut the openings with a drywall saw where you intend to install the lights. Take into account where your joists are so that you will not need to recut and patch incorrect cuts. Install the mounting hardware that includes the electric box for each light fixture.
8. If you have access to the ceiling joists in your room, you should use cans that mount directly to the joists for greater stability. In rooms with an existing ceiling, you will need to use the cans that attach directly to your drywall. Although not as sturdy as cans that attach to the joist, there is less cutting and mess involved, as you will not have to tear down your ceiling.
9. After you have cut all the holes in your drywall as necessary, you will need to drill holes in the joists to accommodate the wires that will run from light to light that are separated by joists. Make as few holes as possible while still reaching all the lights. Reach through the holes in the drywall and drill holes large enough to accommodate your wire. You should not cut a hole that is greater than 1/4 of the width of the joist.
10. Now run electrical cable from your old fixture's box to the closest new fixture opening. Run wire from opening to opening until all fixtures will have power. You will need to run the wire through the joists as necessary. You will need to have about 1-1/2' of extra wire dangling from each opening.
11. Using wire connectors, connect each can to the incoming and outgoing wires by connecting matching wires - red to red, black to black, and green to green.
12. Lift the can onto the drywall using the retaining hardware that came with your particular can.
13. Now, last but not least, install the trim pieces that you have selected.
14. Screw in your light bulbs, and turn back on your power and test your work.



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