Replacing Bath Vanity Light Fixture


We have a four bulb light fixture in a bathroom (80s silver chrome monstrosity) that I want to replace. But I don't want to tuse a four bulb fixture, only two or three.
How do I do this safely?
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Just pick out the one you want and use it. Likely the electrical box behind it is a single gang box or (less likely) an octagon box, and whatever light fixture you pick will be able to mount to it just fine. The biggest concern is if someone painted around the light fixture rather than taking it down when painting, you may need to touch up or repaint that wall before mounting the new fixture.
I'm assuming that you don't need detailed instructions about how to properly mount the light fixture, but if you do, post back.
good luck
nate
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Assuming there is a box at all. It's not required if the fixture is UL rated and can contain the wirenuts.
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Remove one or two bulbs?
Seriously, though -- there are books available at any library that will show you how to do this safely and neatly.
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On Jun 29, 11:49 am, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Everyone has to start do it yourself somewhere.
But having seen some episodes of a Canadian TV programme called ".... Worst handyman" have been surprised there are people who don't even know (or even own) the correct screwdrivers and are DANGEROUS.
So one hesitates to even start with "Make sure power is off at the fuse or circuit breaker" etc. Having seen some older bathroom fixtures (now definitely not to code) with two prong shaver outlets and small twist switches etc. And metal fixtures possibly not grounded; because screwed into the wall board; have seen them not even grounded via mounting screws to the wall outlet box (also grounded?). Ugh!
And the OP did say it's a 1980s chrome (metal?) monstrosity!!!!
Also have one relative who doesn't seem to acknowledge there are other type of screw heads than 'straight' and 'Philips'. Whereas we use almost exclusively 'Robertson' square drive (they stay on the end of the drive bit nicely, even vertically down!).
So someone who has to ask such a basic question should not perhaps start such a task? It may seem to be (and it is) a simple task to 'safely' change out a light fixture for someone who knows what they are doing and has the correct tools.
But just suppose for example the fixture is connected by two white wires ................... ? Which one is the 'live' and goes the the centre contact of a standard light bulb socket? In such a case there is 50% chance of getting it correct.
Oh yes the light will still work alright but it will not be to code. Maybe this all seems an exaggeration and the meanderings of an old ';fuddy duddy' but!!!!!!
Things can happen, having seen some dangerous abominations! So get help from someone who 'knows what they are doing'. Including a couple of elderly ladies trying to put a new plug on something using a pair of scissors and a dinner knife (not bad choices actually!) with 'whiskers' of stray stranded wire everywhere.
The new more elegant fixture may be deeper or shallower than the old? So the length of the mounting screws may need to be different; or even differently spaced. If way too long they might cut into live wires in the wall box? So go to the 'odd screws' jar in the workshop/garage or the hardware store if necessary for the right size, thread and length. Don't try to use wood screws (seen that) to connect to the metal wall box etc. etc.
PS. When finished is everything grounded correctly????? Don't want somebody reaching up, one hand on a grounded metal sink or tap to get a shock changing a light bulb. Was there not a child electrocuted that way 'helping dad' change a light bulb, standing with bare foot touching something metal and got shock through the hand from a light fixture!
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terry wrote:

You make excellent points, but I can't believe you neglected to mention eye protection and not standing on the top step of the step-stool or ladder (unless you are assaulting a castle wall while dodging boiling oil).
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Doug Miller wrote:

No, libraries - in general - are no longer repositories of knowledge. My local library has hand puppets, computer games, art work, computer terminals, spinners with paperback historical romances ("Leave two, take two"), and the like.
There are even libraries that loan out TOOLS (drills, post hole diggers, ladders, paint sprayers, etc.).
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On 6/29/2010 9:36 AM, TheMightyAtlas wrote:

Just find a fixture that fits. Wiring would not be any different. As others point out, you do need to know a few fundamentals like how to make sure wiring is not hot and how to put on wire nuts, etc.
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The fast safe way: pick out the fixture that you want and call a pro. The slow way: spend a month or two reading and observing pros in action, then proceed. The fast dangerous way: take things apart to learn what they look like with tools you have. Get a fixture and try to install it like the other one. Enjoy your stay at Motel 6 while the insurance company estimators assess the damages from the resulting fire. Your call...
Joe
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wrote:

Don't you need a permit for this? And is this in compliance with the new federal lighting standards? Are you going to replace the old evil illegal incandescent with the new fluorescent energy reducing green bulbs? I wouldn't take any chances. I'd just go in the morning and turn myself in for even considering changing the fixture. Perhaps you can be sent to a "rehabilitation center" for reprogramming. If you do the changes, and not have them approved by the proper people's representative, you may be unable to sell your house until the shoddy illegal evil work is ripped out, and replaced PROPERLY. Perhaps the whole structure may have to be condemned and bulldozed. Wait, that would be a waste of diesel fuel. Maybe they could just use enough C4 to do it. Or it could be confiscated and used as a vacation residence and massage parlor for AlGore, Bill Clinton, and Al Franken. Ewwwwwwwww!
Hoo, boy! Are you in trouble now! I would be soooo ashamed!
Steve
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The first step is to kill the power and take down the existing fixture. Many strip fixtures are not mounted to an electrical box, and instead, have a cable running directly into them. Sometimes there is a sink vent pipe running straight up the wall in exactly the spot you'd need to mount a box to center it on the sink, if you are going to use a fixture that can only mount to a box.
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">> We have a four bulb light fixture in a bathroom (80s silver chrome

*I found that all to often in condos and townhomes. One unit in which I was requested to replace the bar fixture over the vanity had a big horizontal slot cut out in the drywall and no box. It turned into a two trip job just to replace the fixture because I had to fix the wall first and mount a box.
To the OP. I would take the old fixture down first and put a pigtail socket or two there for temporary light. Then figure out what needs to be done next. In addition to what RBM said, sometimes those fixtures have additional screws into the wall which will need to be patched. Also consider that the wall behind the old fixture may need painting.
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Exactly what I find. I think that's why they use strip fixtures. In those same locations I typically find the sink vent running straight up the center

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*Roy we need someone to come out with a 2" pipe fitting that has an electrical box already attached and is UL approved.

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