Robert Lamoureux | Illuminating DIY advice on recessed lighting

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question: Hi Mr. Lamoureux, this is my first time writing in and want to let you know that your articles over the years have helped me become more independent and able to make repairs and improvements to my home, despite no construction experience. Just the ability to read the questions and answers has helped my confidence, and I’m more willing to attempt projects knowing that others are able and willing also. Thank you for your time, helping us readers.  

My question is regarding lighting: We have old recessed lights in our home but they are the old eyeball style and very yellow. We are painting our home and want to change these out, yet I am not knowledgeable with electrical. Is this something that I can still do or do I need to call an electrician? Thank you in advance, for your help.  

— Bob J. 

Answer: Bob, thank you for writing in, and for your kind words. My pleasure, being able to assist all of the folks out there.  

You can most certainly do this. The products out there now are phenomenal for this exact reason, so that the do-it-yourselfers out there are able to install new lighting without electrical knowledge.  

Go to the big-box store of your choice and purchase the recessed lighting that literally plugs in. Right out of the box, you can switch from the old style to the new, with a simple conversion kit.  

Essentially, the new kit will have a wire that, on one end, will screw into the light bulb socket of the old fixture. The other end of that wire will connect to the new fixture. There are more details regarding trim pieces and attachments, but those vary based on what you have currently and which product you purchase.  

You’ll want to shut down the breaker supplying power to the lights first — check the circuit to ensure that power is, in fact, turned off. Do this with a handheld electrical meter, which can be purchased at a big-box store.  

Remove one of the trim pieces that you’ll be replacing. Take this with you to the big-box store, so you can ensure size and adaptability.  

Once you get back home, this will be literally just a few minutes per light to change out. Best of luck — nice work doing it yourself. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].           

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