Replacing a light fixture

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by iqchicken, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. Jul 11, 2006 #1

    iqchicken

    iqchicken

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    Hey guys, I'm obviously new to the forum, and I'll tell ya.. i'm extremely new to home improvement too... I'm just trying to replace a simple light fixture.. but I can't seem to get the thing out of the ceiling!!

    It looks like there are two nails (in the middle of the fixture, two of four holes are filled with what looks like nails) holding it to the ceiling, but they are in a recessed hole so that I can't even pry them out. How do i get this thing out of the roof? Brute force?

    The fixture is old, and cracking so it makes brute force tricky anyway..

    I've got the power to the fixture turned off and everything, and all the visible screws taken out. This fixture has GOT to go.. it is old and would have dropped a light on someone's head..

    Thanks for any and all help.. I'm gonna try to attack a picture... but I have to fix my stupid digital camera too.. :mad: :D
     
  2. Jul 11, 2006 #2

    glennjanie

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    Hello Iqchicken:
    Can you possibly get a flat bar between the fixture and the ceiling? Be as gentle as you can with the ceiling but pry it off with the bar. The ceiling may need some repairs anyway from all the nails in it.
    Glenn
     
  3. Jul 11, 2006 #3

    iqchicken

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    I could probably get a flat bar in there, but you're right, it would tear up the ceiling. There are only two nails (from what i can see) holding this bloody thing in, but I guess there isn't really a trick to save the ceiling... they should have used screws or something so that I could get it back out.. :D

    If I used the flatbar.. that would lead to my next question.. hahaha.. how to repair a big hole i'd make in the ceiling..
     
  4. Jul 11, 2006 #4

    iqchicken

    iqchicken

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    I just realized that you probably think I"m talking about just the light "fixture" itself.. what i'm really meaning is that recessed portion of the electrical box that is inside the ceiling... one of the threaded holes broke and so i need to replace the box, but like i said, those nails and such... grrr
     
  5. Jul 11, 2006 #5

    glennjanie

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    O K now we can go further. The junction box is usually mounted in one of 3 ways; there are other ways but these are the usual ways. 1. Nailed to a ceiling joist through the side, 2. Nailed or screwed through the top of the box to a nailer between joists (sounds like yours) 3. Mounted on an adjustable hangar bar with a nut in the center of the box.
    You might try this; take that flat bar into the attic, mark the wires with notes on a piece of masking tape, pull all the wires out of the box and pry the box off, letting it fall through the hole. Then you can replace it with a box screwed in and replace the wires.
    Welcome to the forum, you can find more help here than you could possibly use and we are happy to give away knowledge we have gained through many years of experience and, sometimes, at great cost.
    Glenn
     
  6. Jul 11, 2006 #6

    Square Eye

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    If you can't get into the attic, you might try drilling the heads off. I have seen old J boxes with brackets attached with rivets. Not pop-rivets, I mean big solid steel rivets set in the factory.

    I'd try the drill.
     
  7. Jul 11, 2006 #7

    iqchicken

    iqchicken

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    Thanks for your help guys. Well it looks like it's either a rivet or a nail going from the top of the box straight up into the ceiling somehow like you said... I can't really tell if it is a rivet or a nail.. now that I think about it... it looks more like a rivet... great.. lol

    Sadly, there is no attic access to that part of the house.. it is just ceiling and roof with tiles. I guess I'll have to drill the rivets off. But if I do that, will i be able to attach a new box? I'm sure there must be a way, but I just don't wanna leave a huge hole in my ceiling for too long.. :D

    light fixture.jpg
     
  8. Jul 11, 2006 #8

    Square Eye

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    You won't know until it's gone.























    Yeah, there's always a way to do nearly anything. That looks like a plastic box. It may be on a metal bar that will run between the joists.

    There is a ceiling fan rated box made specifically to replace those boxes in a remodel situation. The box in that kit is metal.
     
  9. Jul 11, 2006 #9

    iqchicken

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    uh oh... lol... won't know till it's off eh.. well that's sucks... this house was built so poorley that i'm having to fix all kinds of stuff... i guess it would be cheaper to just move..
     
  10. Jul 11, 2006 #10

    Square Eye

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    Welcome to your Money Pit.

    Better stick around.
     
  11. Jul 11, 2006 #11

    iqchicken

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    hhahaha... thanks... one of my favorite movies...
     
  12. Jul 14, 2006 #12

    John

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    What about using a Dremmel type grinder bit to grind the head off? Here in Canada we can buy a cheaper version made by a competitor complete with grinding stones and points for about $10 at Canadain Tire.

    For heaven sake wear safety glasses.

    John
     
  13. Jul 15, 2006 #13

    iqchicken

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    well getting the rivets off with a drill is a simple chore.. i guess i was just hoping I'd missed some kind of simple trick... I had no idea they designed these things to be such a pain in the butt.. I just hope that If i take it out.. i'll be able to put something back up fairly easily
     
  14. Jul 15, 2006 #14

    Square Eye

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  15. Jul 17, 2006 #15

    iqchicken

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    well i just bought a simple ceiling box that cost a buck or two.. I'm just going to put the light back up.

    I cracked the original cieling box with a tough screwdriver and a hammer. Then I just pulled it out of there. The new ceiling box is the standard metal.. whatever it is.. aluminum, steel.. lol.. i don't know what it is.. standard though

    So underneath the old worn-out ceiling box, I finally get to see how it was mounted. There is a tiny section of stud on which a bracket is attached. The ceiling box was rivited only to the bracket.

    Of course, since I'm a newbie I bought the wrong replacement ceiling box. But I can make it work. It is the correct overall size, but doesn't have holes for me to nail into the stud. It only has the standard break out holes used for wiring, and the holes in the top of it for securing to the ceiling. I don't think I can really use the holes in the top because the bracket looks like swiss cheese. There are tons of holes in it already. So I'm betting that I can only nail into the small section of stud. So my plan is to drill out a couple of holes in the ceiling box on the side where the stud is, and nail some nice big 16 penny nails into the stud.

    Any problems with this idea? If I ever build my own house, I now know how I will NOT be designing the ceiling fixtures... :D
     

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