Remodeling Tips and Reviews

Installing Remodeling Can Lights

Installing Remodeling Can Lights

Dec 30, 2011

Can lights can add a lot of dramatic lighting to a room and with the dozens of various baffles available there is vast array of the types of light you can create in a room.

Installing a remodeling can light in an existing ceiling is a great way to update the look of a room without breaking the bank. Most average rooms can use 4 to 6 lights, larger rooms can go higher. I suggest placing the cans about 3 feet from the corner clearing what ever joist may be in the way.

Make sure you cut off the electricity to the room before proceeding.

First thing you need to do is move the furniture out of the way, this is dusty and you should cover the furniture with plastic. You will need a 6′ ladder to reach standard ceilings. Once up the ladder measure your marks 3 feet from the wall roughly with a pencil and preferably use a stud finder to check for joist. You need at least 3 1/2″ on either side to install the can. Once I have the spot marked I drill a small pilot hole of about 1/8″. I then will stick some electrical wire through the hole and try to move it around to see if hits anything if I feel good about the hole I will proceed with a Greenlee can saw out drill bit on my cordless drill. These cost about 25 dollars and are worth the money. They will cut the time down dramatically. They do, however, create a lot of dust. If you have a helper and a vacuum have them run it with the hose a few feet underneath the drill to catch the dust as it falls. If you don’t have a helper let the vacuum run on the ground below you, it will still help.  Once the hole is cut and the sheetrock circular piece is spinning, carefully pull it down and drop it into the trash. If you do this right the loose insulation will stay put. You can then carefully move the insulation around away from the hole.

Installing a Remodel Can Light

Once the hole is cut you will have to pull the romex wire from its source, whether it is from another new can hole in a daisy chain series or it is from the old light or the switch. Simply pull the wire down and make sure you have about 12″ hanging from the ceiling.You may have to make a trip to the attic to do this or have a wire run to move the wire from one place to another. If you are one the first floor of a two story house and you are moving across various joist you will likely have to cut holes at each joist to drill and pull the wire across each one. Then patch the ceiling. If you have an old light in the middle and no way to pull it to a new can hole you will need to pull the wire from the old light box and put a face plate on it afterwards.

You are now ready to connect the can to your wiring. I prefer Halo Can lights which are available at Home Depot. These cans cost a few dollars more but they install much faster. Simply remove the snap on cover plate push the romex through one of the existing wire slots on the can. The can will have a hot (black), neutral (white) and green ground wire. All of them need to be attached with caps or using halos system of quick connect caps. If you are wiring another can light in the series then you will also need to add its wires to this process to go to that light.If you are installing several lights, make sure to wire them in a series.

Once the can is wired up you can move it into the hole and push it up, but first make sure the 4 black clips are pushed into the can and the cover plate is snapped back into place.  The hole will be tight and require a little wiggling but it should go. Once the can is flush you will have 4 black v shaped clips inside the can. These will need to be pushed outwards, then once they are out you will  need to use a flat head screw driver to push the clip ends upwards into the slot they sit in. That will lock them in place. On occasion if you are up next to a joist you can drill a hole in the inside of the can and use a screw to secure it, then remove the clip from that area.

Once the can is in you can install the baffle and light. You will also notice the can depth is adjustable based on how big your light is and how far up you want it.

This process will be repeated for each can in the series.

Tip: if you have a can light that is going off and on it is likely overheating and cutting out til it cools. Try a lower voltage bulb.

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