Does your chandelier flicker? Has it recently started shining more dimly than before? Perhaps you’re going through light bulbs at an alarmingly fast rate? Rewiring a flickering or faulty chandelier is the best way to ensure that the bulbs will shine brightly together for long into the future.
Rewiring old chandeliers can seem like a daunting task, especially if you don’t have prior experience doing DIY or electrical work. Therefore, we’ve put together a useful guide that explains how to wire your old chandeliers so there aren’t any flickering or dimming bulbs when it’s turned on.
Even if you have little DIY experience or have never wired a light before, rewiring a chandelier is a simple task that can be quickly done by following some easy steps.
Why Is It Important To Rewire Old Chandeliers?
Chandeliers are a unique addition to any room and light up the ceiling with a unique spectacle of multiple bulbs that are often paired with a beautifully designed, ornate candelabra.
As they often become semi-permanent fixtures in homes, chandeliers tend to have a longer lifespan than other types of lights. A longer life means they’re more prone to aging, which sees wires loosening as bulbs are replaced over time.
Wires that are too loose eventually result in circuit breaks, seeing an increasing amount of spontaneously flickering and dimming bulbs.
When this happens, the easiest solution is to grab some supplies from your local hardware store and rewire the chandelier so that all the circuits are in working order.
Chandelier Rewiring Kit – What You’ll Need To Get Started
To begin, you’ll need some essential DIY items that are easily available from a local store or hardware center. These include:
- A wire tester: for determining your live and neutral wires.
- Lamp wire: un-grounded, single-insulated two-wire cord for lamps.
- Wire strippers: for stripping the wire, separating the lamp wire from the sheath.
- Wire connector caps: insulating caps that safely protect exposed wires.
- Chandelier sockets & covers: the socket that holds the bulb and connects the wires.
- Electrical tape: used for insulating and covering exposed wires.
- Misc Tools: Pliers, a star or flathead screwdriver and a pair of scissors.
Getting the above items will make your chandelier rewiring process as easy as possible. These are the most essential items for this task, so leaving anything off this list could see your rewiring taking longer than it should.
How To Rewire A Chandelier
Gather all your tools so they’re easy to find, as this will save time and prevent you from having to search for tools in order to get the job done.
1. Preparing your chandelier and candelabra
Start by loosening the ceiling fixture, which usually resembles a rounded base that the chain and light fixture hang from.
Slide this gently to the bottom hub of the chandelier, getting your wire tester ready. You will likely see three wires: the ground wire (copper), the neutral/earth wire (white) and the live/hot wire (yellow, or any other color).
Turn on your wire tester and place it on the neutral and live wires, labeling them accordingly so you know which is which.
Once labelled, turn off the main power to the chandelier fixture. Unscrew the chandelier base from the ceiling, unhook the ground, neutral and live wires and place it on top of an old towel on a table.
2. Rewiring your lamp wires and lamp sockets
Remove any ornamental designs and the socket cap of each arm, exposing the chandelier socket underneath. Unscrew the small screw that connects the live copper wire to the socket.
Pull this live wire up through the arm of the chandelier by pulling on it from the main hub.
Measure out a new piece of wire to replace this one, adding about 1” on either side to account for wire stripping. Thread this new wire through the arms, strip and twist the ends and connect the end to the chandelier socket’s screw again.
Do this for all the arms of the chandelier, making sure to group the ends at the hub of the chandelier into neutral and live (hot) wire groups. These will all get twisted together later on.
3. Tidying up your wires
Once all the arms have been rewired and the ends of the wires stripped and twisted, we’ll need to group all our neutral and live wires.
At the hub of the chandelier, twist all the wires together that will be used as hot wires – for our example, these will be all the copper wires. The other wires – typically silver – must be grouped together too.
Then, cut a new piece of main wire that will connect the light fixture on the ceiling to the hub of the chandelier. Strip the ends near the hub and place it into its respective groups, placing these into wire connector caps and sealing them with electrical tape.
By now, you have all the arms rewired with the wires coming through the hub separated into neutral and live wire groups. You should also have a new main wire coming from the top of the chandelier that splits into neutral and live wires.
These main neutral and live wires should be twisted into each group, and protected with a connector cap and electrical tape.
4. Wiring the main hot, neutral and ground wires
Once the groups have been tidied, pull all the wires taut from the hub of the chandelier so they fit neatly into the hub. Then, pull the main wire up along the chain towards the base of the chandelier and screw the chandelier into the ceiling fixture.
Once tight, connect the ground wire (copper), the main neutral wire and the main hot wire to their respective groups on the main fixture.
Make sure to finish these off with connector caps and electrical tape for added safety, just like the wires at the main hub of the chandelier.
5. Finishing up
Finally, pull the ornamental cover up to the top of the chain and affix to the ceiling fixture. Check that the hub of the chandelier is enclosed and that nothing is out of place.
Make to cover the chandelier socket with socket covers and screw in any light bulbs that are needed. By now, your chandelier should be hanging from the ceiling with new wires and lights and is ready to go.
If you’re struggling, be sure to check out this video that teaches you how to attach a chandelier fixture to a ceiling.
Hopefully, these instructions have been enough to get your old chandelier rewired and shining brightly and save you from buying a new one. If you had any issues with flickering or dying bulbs, it’s likely that these will have been fixed if you’ve also replaced all your bulbs while rewiring your chandelier.
Rewiring an old chandelier is one of those jobs that only needs to be done every few years, so with a bit of luck, your chandelier’s lifespan has been greatly increased.
With this in mind, you should be able to do some entertaining and have some delicious dinners and drinks underneath your new light fixture!
A furniture designer with a passion for design and architecture. Mildly obsessed with mid-century modern furniture, finding new room ideas, and discovering new color combinations.