A Few Questions To Ask Yourself Before Installing A New Kitchen Light

Construction & Contractors Articles

If you want a special type of lighting installed in your kitchen, then you may decide to secure the light yourself. This may be a good choice if you are comfortable with basic electrical work. However, before you start looking at wiring diagrams, there are a few things that you will need to consider and a few questions you will need to ask yourself before starting the job.

Is The Electrical Circuit Correct?

You likely understand the basics of electricity and how a closed circuit is created so that electricity can flow from the electrical panel, to your lights and appliances, and back to the breaker. However, you may not understand that there are a few types of circuits that are used to create different types of electrical systems in the home. Basically, the different circuits help to allow for electrical flow that meets the needs of the devices being powered. 

Parallel, switch, and series wiring are the three types of wiring circuits that may be constructed in your home. Most of the wiring in your home is parallel wiring. This type of wiring involves the inclusions of several different devices wired to the same circuit. The circuit is created with a single wire, and several different wires are attached to the main one and branch outward. Switch wiring is also common, where a single light or fixture is placed on the circuit. The wire loops around, and the light or appliance is attached in the middle of the circuit. A switch is connected to the wiring that connects and disconnects the circuit so the light can be controlled with a switch.

Series wiring is the third type of circuit, but it is rarely seen in newer homes. Lights are attached to the circuit in the same way they are when a switch circuit is created. However, multiple lights sit in the middle of the circuit. If one of the lights does not work or if a lightbulb is removed from the light, then the circuit is disrupted and all lights go out. This is similar to the way that an old string of Christmas lights work. 

If you want a light that uses the same sort of circuit as the old one, then you can easily make the replacement yourself. If you do not, like if you want to add a switch circuit where a parallel one was initially installed, then you may need some more advanced skills to wire the new light. It may be best to speak with an electrician in this case. This is especially true if you have a series circuit. This will require new wiring since the type of circuit is outdated, dangerous, and inconvenient.

Is The Wiring Outdated?

Before you begin the wiring job, you will need to look at the wires themselves to see if they can still be used for the new light or if a new wire needs to be installed. There are a few different reasons when rewiring is the best option. If you notice any burn marks around the wires or chewed areas where mice have gnawed at the insulation, then replacement is best. This is also true if you see any noticeable cracks or breaks in the insulation.

You also should think about replacement if the wiring is outdated. Outdated wiring is wiring that is likely not up to code with more timely standards implemented within the last four decades. If old wiring is installed, then this is a sign that your home may not be as safe as it should be. In other words, a fire is more likely. There are several signs of outdated wiring to consider like the constant tripping of breakers, occasionally dimming lights, burning smells in the home, and outlets that appear to be discolored. 

Also, the wiring itself may indicate outdated materials. This is especially true if aluminum wiring was utilized. This type of wiring was common in the 60s and 70s. If your house was built in one of these time periods, then look at the wires coming out of the old fixture. If the wires appear silver instead of copper, then they may be aluminum. Aluminum wires wear out much more quickly than copper wires, and they are more likely to fail and start fires. Speak with an electrical contractor if you think this may be a problem. 

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14 March 2017

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