Installing Lamps: Simple and Safe within Five Steps

December 3, 2020

When someone moves into a new house or flat, ceiling lamps are usually hung up last. On one hand, lamps are installed last because the choice of lamp depends on the floor plan, the style of furniture and the overall aesthetic in a room. On the other hand, and this is the most common reason for delayed installing: because many people are unsure on how to do it or don't trust themselves to do a good job. However, with our step-by-step instructions, you will be able to install a lamp easily and safely.

Step 1: The right tools for installing a lamp

Before installing the lamp, you should make sure to have the right tools prepared:

  • A ladder that is stable and high enough for you to reach the lamp connection in the ceiling without having to contort yourself.
  • A phase tester or screwdriver with a phase tester so that you can test whether there is still current on the line.
  • A luster terminal so that you can connect the cables of the lamp to the cables of the connector.
  • A lamp with socket and matching bulbs.

Fitting the lamp - the right tools

Step 2: Switch off the fuse, before you fit the lamp

An electric shock can be life-threatening. Therefore, make sure the fuse of the room in which the lamp will be installed is switched off. You will usually find the fuse box in the hallway, for example in the cloakroom. Before mounting, check with a two-pole phase tester or voltage tester that there is no voltage left on the wire. This is very simple: hold the end of the phase tester with the indicator to the L conductor, which is the copper wire of the black cable, and the narrow pin alternately to the ends of the other wires. If the phase tester does not indicate anything, you can connect the wires (see step 3).

Houzy Hint

Tip

If there is still power on the line even though you have switched off the fuse, you should keep your hands off the lamp and call an electrician.

Fitting the lamp: Pay attention to the colours when connecting lamps and connectors.
Lamps and terminals are connected via the neutral conductor, phase conductor and protective conductor

Step 3: Connect all wires

Lamps and connectors are in most cases connected via three wires:

  • The neutral conductor with the abbreviation "N" is usually insulated in blue, but can also be yellow in older houses.
  • The phase conductor or pole conductor with the abbreviation "L" is usually black, but can also be brown, red or white.
  • The protective earth conductor or earth with the abbreviation "PE" is usually marked yellow-green, but in older houses it may also be marked yellow-red or not present at all.

Make sure that the last five millimetres of the copper wire are exposed. If not, you have to cut away the insulation with a wire stripper. Now you can connect the wires with the luster terminal:

  1. Insert the protective earth conductor (usually yellow-green) into the luster terminal.
  2. Insert the neutral conductor (usually blue) into the luster terminal.
  3. Insert the phase conductors (usually black) into the luster terminal.

Once all the wires are connected, tighten the screws of the luster terminal.

Houzy Advice

Good to know

If you live in an older house or flat, the connection may not have a protective earth conductor. In these cases, we recommend that you hire an electrician.

Step 4: Attach the lamp

Now you need to fix the lamp to the ceiling. How? For example with a hook, a retaining bracket or a screw and dowels - should be stated in the assembly instructions. You can hang a simple hanging lamp over the connection. If the cable is too long, you can hide it under the cable cover if you have not shortened it. You must screw a ceiling lamp into the ceiling, a wall lamp into the wall. Be sure to read the installation instructions and don't forget the wall plugs. The choice of drill depends on the ceiling:

  • For plasterboard, aerated concrete and wood, a drill without impact function is sufficient.
  • For natural stone and brick you need an impact drill.
  • For hard concrete you need a hammer drill.

Houzy Hint

Tip

If you want to hang a ceiling lamp, you will probably have to drill a hole in the ceiling. To protect your eyes from drilling dust, drill from below through the cut-off bottom of a PET bottle or through a cardboard cup.

Fitting the lamp: Regional electricians on Houzy

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Step 5: Test the lamp

Screw the bulb into the lamp socket, switch on the fuse and turn on the light. Does the lamp light up? If not, first check whether the bulb is working. If the bulb is OK, turn the fuse off again and check all wires and connections. Maybe a wire has come loose in the luster terminal and is loose. If you cannot find a fault, call an electrician.

The electrician: safe is safe

Do you feel unsafe or do you not only want to fit a lamp but also change something on the light switches or sockets? This can be dangerous for non-experts and is sometimes even forbidden. The Ordinance on Low-Voltage Electrical Installations regulates what non-experts are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do. In its brochure "Electricity - a safe matter" (PDF), SUVA defines exactly what you are allowed to do if you are not a professional: Replace light bulbs and fuses, change switches and install lights.

Fitting the lamp: SUVA defines what you are allowed to do as a layperson.
SUVA has defined exactly what laypersons may and may not do. Source: Screenshot www.suva.ch.

SUVA considers anyone who is "neither a qualified electrician nor an electro technically instructed person" to be a non-expert. Non-experts are only allowed to carry out installations in self-occupied living and adjoining rooms and on the 1-phase mains, provided that this is additionally protected with a residual current circuit breaker and the installations are subsequently checked by a safety adviser".

Houzy Hint

Tip

It is worthwhile to ask electricians for several jobs at once, because for smaller jobs such as installing a lamp, the same costs for travel and flat-rate car charges apply as for large jobs. This is why these additional costs can account for a third of the total bill, despite the short journey.

Do you want to fit several lamps or are you planning a larger lighting installation? In our craftsmen's network, you will find electricians from your region whom we recommend to you with a clear conscience. You can request and compare offers from up to three electricians online. Free of charge and without obligation, of course.

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