Frequently Asked Questions About Lighting Fixture Installation

Frequently Asked Questions About Lighting Fixture Installation

1. How long does it take to install recessed lighting?

Generally it takes about ½ hour to 1 hour per light. The time for the job will depend on how difficult it is to reach the area and how many lights you are installing.

2. Do you need a junction box for track lighting?

Yes, track lighting does require a junction box. If there is not already a junction box present, you’ll need to install it or have a licensed electrician install one. Code requires that almost all types of lights are enclosed in a junction box, which is a metal or plastic box that protects the wiring from the elements and protects you from the wiring. In this case, track lighting is no exception to the rule.

3. Do light switches need to be grounded?

All new light switches need to be grounded. Replacement light switches do not have to be grounded to meet the National Electrical Code. This is because many older homes did not have grounding wires in the light switches, so the old style is “grandfathered in.” If you are installing a new or replacement switch into a metal box that is grounded, the switch will already be grounded via the metal screws and mounting device.

4. Can you add lights to track lighting?

Yes, track lights are designed so that you can add segments of lights. You just need to check the capacity of the circuit that they are on before adding lights. Calculate the wattage of the new lights and make sure that the total load including the new lights stay under 80% of the acceptable wattage of the circuit to avoid overloading it.

5. How many can lights can be on one light switch?

Dimmer switches are sold with different maximum wattages including 500, 600, and 1,000 for incandescent lights or 150 watts for LED lights. Calculate how many lights you can add to the dimmer based on the wattage per light, but do not add so many lights that the dimmer is at max capacity. You should also take into account the total electrical load of the circuit where you will be adding the lights, which is likely powering other appliances in your house as well. Most circuits are 15 amps and shouldn’t be loaded with more than 12 amps, which is 1440 watts at 120 volts. Find out what else is powered by the circuit where you are adding the lights by turning off the breaker and seeing what loses power. Then calculate whether your additional lighting plus the other appliances comes in under 1440 watts all together.