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Installing a ceiling fixture

Light bulbs

Light bulbs are rated by lumens, which measure the amount of light that the bulb produces, and watts, which measure the rate at which electrical energy is used. Watts donít measure brightness; though a 100-watt incandescent bulb is brighter than a 40-watt one, a 13-watt fluorescent may be brighter than the 40-watt incandescent.

Types of Bulbs

Compared with an energy-guzzling 100-watt incandes cent, compact fluorescents use 75 percent less electricity and last longer. But the harsh, bluish light ofa fluorescent is also not necessarily what you want over the bathroom mirror. If you are stuck with fluorescent fixtures, a lighting expert can help by choosing warmer bulbs or cooler tubes to suit the situation. Halogen bulbs have a kind of clear- white quality, and are about 25 percent brighter than standard incandescent bulbs of the same wattage, but they require special fixtures. They are also extremely hot and should be treated with caution. High-intensity-discharge (HID) bulbs, such as halide and high-pressure sodium, are also bright and efficacious but require special fixtures.



Before deciding on a fixture, be sure to have enough lighting capacity. Determine how much you need by matching the power consumption in watts to the floor area to be lighted: for fluorescent lighting, 1.2 to 1.6 watts per square foot; for incandescent lighting, 3.5 to 4 watts per square foot.

Unfortunately, there is no simple rule of thumb for task lighting. Because task lighting must focus on a specific target to be
effective, the location of the lamp is as important as the amount of light it yields.

To light a mirror with incandescent lamps, figure on at least three bulbs of 15- to 25-watt capacity at each side or a series of strip lights (pictured at right) around the sides and top of the mirror. Strip-lighting fixtures are generally available in 18-24-, 36-, and 48-inch lengths.

An enclosed tub or shower also requires lighting. Choose a recessed vapor-proof fixture with a 60- or 75-watt bulb. For safety, position the switch so that it is out of reach from inside the compartment.


First cut a hole in the ceiling; then fish a power cable into this hole; and install a retrofit ceiling box. Once both are in place, strip the sheathing and wire insulation from the cable, and screw a hanging strap to the box. Join the wires from the fixture and the box; then tighten the fixture in place. Install the proper light bulb (or bulbs), and screw on the fixture globe.

Step 1. Begin by cutting a box hole in the ceiling and installing a retrofit ceiling box and cable in this hole. Remove the cable sheathing, and strip the ends of the wires using wire strippers.


Step 3. Join the fixture wires to the box wires by combining like-color wires with wire connectors. Add a short pigtail wire to the ground wires, and tighten it under the grounding screw.


Step 2. Screw a metal hanging strap to the bottom of the ceiling box (inset). Then turn a threaded nipple into the strap collar. This nipple will hold the light fixture in place.


Step 4. Slide the fixture over the box, and turn the retaining nut onto the threaded nipple. Tighten the nut until the fixture is against the ceiling. Add the recommended bulbs, and install the globe that came with the fixture.





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