Chandelier Installation: Everything you need to know

by | Jun 17, 2024

At Bell Electrical Contractors, our job isn’t just about fixing electrical issues when they arise—it’s also about ensuring that your fixtures are installed correctly from the start. Proper installation is crucial for any electrical fixture or appliance. Following the right procedures can extend the life of your device, reduce maintenance needs, and save you from costly repairs.

Chandeliers are one of the most popular fixtures we install, and it’s easy to see why. Their beauty and elegance make them a stunning addition to any home. However, installing a chandelier can be quite challenging, even for seasoned DIY enthusiasts. If you’ve recently purchased a chandelier, we strongly recommend calling a licensed electrician like us at Bell Electrical electricians in Melbourne for the installation. We understand the intricacies involved and ensure the installation is done safely and efficiently, giving your chandelier a long, trouble-free life.

The biggest considerations in practical terms are size and weight, according to Melbourne-based electrician, Andrew Bell of Bell Electrical Contractors “You want to make sure the light doesn’t make the room feel small, so check the ceiling is high enough for the chandelier you choose, and the room is big enough,” Mr Bell says.

“That way the light fitting does what you want it to, rather than making the space seem too crowded. You also want a light that suits the era or style of the house – it can look a bit odd if you choose an ultra-modern light for a period home, or the other way round.”

Mr Bell suggests someone who wants to have a chandelier installed talks to their electrician first to get some ideas about the right type of fitting and find out more information about what is involved.

“Ask the electrician how they plan to install the light. You don’t want your electrician using a small ladder and potentially falling and hurting themselves or damaging your house.”

Andrew Bell

According to Mr Bell, if you’re looking at a dramatic, heavy fitting, you will need several electricians on the job and they will need to use some form of a platform or manlift to get the job done.

“Your sparky may also need to install some type of bracing in the ceiling if the light is heavy, or call in some help from a carpenter and/or engineer to help make it safe and secure. Bracing is reasonably straightforward in a single-storey dwelling where access to the roof is fairly simple, however if you are installing the light on the bottom level of a two-storey house, it may not be possible to brace without damaging the plaster because there is limited access to the ceiling.”

Andrew Bell

Once you know if it is possible to install a chandelier and whether there are any weight restrictions, Mr Bell suggests you measure the room where you want the light installed, and take a photo, and take both to the lighting store.

That way, the sales team should be able to visualise what you want and what the room will allow for. You should also let them know if you want to be able to dim the light.
The size of your room will determine what size chandelier will be best suited to it. You want the proportions right: not a large room with a tiny chandelier and vice versa. So, for example, if your room measures 304cm x 426cm, the width of the fixture should be around 73cm.

Things to keep in mind while installing a chandelier

1.   Correct order for installing

Following the manufacturer’s instructions is crucial when installing a chandelier. From our experience, skipping steps or doing them out of order can lead to significant problems, especially with crystal chandeliers. We’ve encountered situations where all the crystals were attached to the fixture before installation, despite the instructions for any crystal chandelier to install the fixture first and then hang the crystals.

Crystal chandeliers with crystals already attached are incredibly heavy and extremely fragile. Even for a professional, installing such a chandelier without breaking something is nearly impossible.

2.   Ceiling mounting

When mounting your chandelier to the ceiling, it’s crucial to properly assemble and adjust the canopy cover (the part that covers the hole in the ceiling from which the chandelier hangs) to the correct depth before connecting the chandelier’s wiring. DIY installers often make the mistake of trying to screw the canopy cover in to get it flush with the ceiling, which can twist the wiring inside and create serious hazards. If you encounter any difficulties with this step, it’s best to call a professional for assistance.

3.   Prepare your ceiling connection

Before lifting your chandelier into place, it’s crucial to ensure that your ceiling’s electrical box is secure and capable of supporting the weight of the fixture. Take a moment to tighten any screws and thoroughly inspect the wires for any signs of damage. Ensuring a secure and stable connection to your ceiling will help prevent any mishaps during installation and ensure the safety and longevity of your chandelier.

4.   Correct hanging methods

Chandeliers are specifically designed to hang from their chains, not from the wires that connect them to your ceiling. These wires are not built to support any part of the fixture’s weight. If the wires are used to bear the weight, they will inevitably stretch and damage the chandelier’s internal wiring. Additionally, this improper installation can damage your ceiling as the weight pulls on the wiring, creating a severe fire hazard. Always ensure the wire is loose, has a bit of slack, and isn’t being pinched by the chain links as it winds through them. Properly supporting your chandelier from the chain is essential for both the safety and the longevity of your fixture.

5.   Wiring

Before attempting to install a chandelier, it’s crucial to understand how it’s wired into your electrical system. Many DIY homeowners struggle to identify which chandelier wire connects to which ceiling wire, risking damage to their new fixture.

💡Bell Electrical tip: The side of the chandelier wire with ridges or bumps (which you can feel by running your fingers along the wire) is the neutral or power “out” wire, while the smooth side is the power “in” wire. Taking the time to identify and connect the wires correctly will ensure a safe and successful installation.

6.   Power shutdown

For your safety, shutting off the electrical power before installing your chandelier is essential. We advise working during daylight hours for better visibility. Head to your circuit breaker and switch it off to prevent electrical accidents during installation. Taking this precaution ensures a safer and smoother installation process.

DIY chandelier installation risks

While some homeowners may attempt chandelier installations themselves, they often underestimate the complexity of the task. Chandelier installations require a high level of skill and expertise due to their intricate nature. Therefore, it’s strongly recommended to enlist the services of experienced local electricians for the job. Incorrect installation can lead to numerous costly and hazardous complications down the line.

To ensure your chandelier is safely and properly installed in your home, follow these important electrical tips. Leaving the task to professionals will not only save you time and effort but also mitigate any potential risks associated with DIY installations.

Tips for professional chandelier installation

1.   Hire an experienced electrician

Chandelier installations require specialised knowledge of wiring and installation techniques. Hiring an electrician experienced in this type of installation can prevent damage to the fixture and ensure proper wiring. Remember, the side of the wiring with ridges and bumps is the “power out” side, while the smooth side is the “power in” side.

2.   Follow the manufacturer’s instructions

Ensure that your electrician follows the manufacturer’s instructions for fixture installation meticulously. Skipping steps or installing components out of order can lead to costly complications. For instance, with crystal chandeliers, it’s crucial to install the fixture before hanging the crystals to avoid excessive weight and fragility during installation.

3.   Consider weight limits

Be mindful of weight limits when selecting a chandelier for your space. Chandeliers over 45 kilograms may require additional support installations in the ceiling to ensure safety and stability. Ignoring weight limitations can lead to installation problems and potential hazards.

4.   Hang from chains – not wires

Chandeliers should be hung from their chains, not the wiring itself. Hanging the chandelier from the wires can stretch them, posing a fire hazard. Chandeliers are designed to hang exclusively from the chains provided, so ensure proper installation for safety.

Chandelier Installation

FAQs

1.   Can I install a chandelier myself, or do I need a professional?

Thinking about installing a chandelier? If you’re confident with assembling light fixtures and handling electrical components, you might be able to do it yourself. However, if you’ve never even changed a light bulb, it’s best to call a professional. Attempting to install a chandelier without the proper knowledge can damage the fixture or worse, cause an electrical shock.

2.   How much will I pay to have a chandelier installed?

The cost of installing a chandelier varies depending on whether you do it yourself or hire a professional.

If you hire a professional, expect to pay between $150 and $400, depending on the complexity of the installation. If you decide to install the chandelier yourself, the only cost will be the light fixture’s price.

3.   What are the steps to take down a chandelier?

Though it’s always a good idea to have your existing chandelier removed by a professional, if you want to do it yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the power: Ensure the electrical supply to the chandelier is turned off at the breaker.
  2. Use a step ladder: Position a step ladder so you can reach the chandelier comfortably.
  3. Locate the escutcheon: Find the escutcheon, the part that connects the chandelier to the ceiling joist.
  4. Remove screws: Unscrew the escutcheon from the ceiling joist.
  5. Disconnect wires: Unscrew the plastic wire connectors that attach the chandelier’s wires to the main power supply, and carefully separate the wires.
  6. Unscrew ground wire: Often, the bare copper ground wire is screwed to the junction box. Unscrew it.
  7. Detach chandelier: Remove the screws mounting the chandelier to the junction box.

The final touch

With decades of expertise, Bell Electrical Bayside electricians deliver top-notch emergency and routine electrical services for both residential and commercial needs. If you’re seeking professional chandelier installation services in the Bayside area or Melbourne, look no further. Call us today at 0411 471 922 to schedule your appointment.


Need Help?

Do you need to have your electrical systems done? Bell Electrical Contractors is happy to help. Call us on 0411471922 or email us at info@bellelectrical.com.au.