Lighting Upgrade: Removing Recessed Lights the Right Way

Lighting Upgrade: Removing Recessed Lights the Right Way

Removing recessed lights can be a straightforward process if you follow the proper steps and take necessary precautions to ensure safety. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you upgrade your lighting by removing recessed lights safely:

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Ladder
  • Screwdriver
  • Voltage tester
  • Wire nuts
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire stripper
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves


1. Turn Off Power:

  • Safety first! Turn off the power supply to the lights at the circuit breaker box. Use a voltage tester to double-check that the power is off.

2. Remove the Bulbs:

  • If there are any bulbs in the recessed lights, remove them.

3. Remove the Trim:

  • Most recessed lights have a trim that covers the edges. Gently remove the trim by unscrewing or pulling it down (depending on the type of trim).

4. Unscrew the Housing:

  • Inside, you will find screws securing the housing to the ceiling. Unscrew these and carefully lower the housing. Have someone assist you if the fixture is heavy.

5. Disconnect Wires:

  • Carefully disconnect the wires attached to the housing. Usually, these are connected with wire nuts. Untwist the wire nuts, separate the wires, and cover the exposed ends with electrical tape for safety.

6. Remove the Housing:

  • Once the wires are disconnected, remove the housing from the ceiling. If it’s a newer fixture, it might have clips that you need to squeeze to release the housing from the ceiling.

7. Patch the Ceiling (Optional):

  • If you plan to install a different type of lighting fixture or want to close the hole, patch the ceiling with a patching kit. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

8. Secure Loose Wires:

  • If there are loose wires left in the ceiling, secure them with wire nuts and electrical tape, then push them back into the electrical box.

9. Inspect and Dispose:

  • Inspect the wiring and ceiling for any damage. Dispose of the old fixtures according to your local regulations.

10. Install New Lighting (If Applicable):

  • If you’re installing new lighting fixtures, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. Ensure the power is still turned off while you’re connecting the new fixtures.

11. Turn Power Back On:

  • After installation, turn the power back on at the circuit breaker and test the new lights to ensure they are working correctly.

Always prioritize safety and if you’re unsure about any step, consult a professional electrician. Working with electricity can be dangerous, so it’s essential to take all necessary precautions.