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How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Nothing deters a thief like a well lit area. But truth be told, I needed this light to illuminate the path when taking out the trash. There is nothing like walking out the door with the trash in your hands after dark and realizing that you forgot to turn on the exterior light. I should mention that our neighborhood is popular with the copperheads. Need I say more?

Installing any light fixture is a relatively easy DIY project, and installing an exterior light is no exception if you have a junction box or light already installed.

Materials:

Optional: Drill

Required Safety Instruction: 
Turn off the power to the light fixture you are working on. I highly recommend turning on the light you will be working on, then shut off the circuit at your circuit breaker and check to see that the light has gone out. Also note that just because the light fixture power is turned off, it doesn’t necessarily mean that other outlets or lights in the same area are on the same circuit. Always check for the presence of power before you work on it.

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If you have an existing light fixture remove it before installing the new fixture.  For this tutorial, we’re starting with a bare junction box:

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Test the black or hot wire with the voltage tester to be certain the power is turned off.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Remove the existing mounting bracket if there is one installed.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Open up your new light fixture and remove the enclosed mounting bracket. Install the mounting bracket by attaching it to the junction box with either the provided screws or your old screws. The wires should descend out of the junction box.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Bring the light fixture up to the junction box. Always start by attaching ground wires. The bare wire from your house should loop around the green screw on your mounting bracket and then attach to the green wire. Twist the two wires together clockwise and then twist a wire nut over the ends.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Gently tuck the ground wires up into the junction box.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Next attach the neutral wires (white wires). Again, twist the two wires together clockwise. Then twist a wire nut over the ends.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Gently tuck the white wires up into the junction box making sure they are separate from the ground wires.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Finally, you can attach the black or “hot” wires. Twist them together and add a wire nut onto the ends.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Tuck the black wires into the junction box pushing them away from the neutral wires.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Fit your light fixture onto the mounting bracket lining up the holes with the bracket holes. Attach the fixture to the junction box using the provided screws.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Look for a switch on your fixture and slide it to the TEST location (especially if it is daytime because your light fixture may have a daylight sensor keeping it from turning on.)

Turn the power back on and check your light fixture to see if it works. Slide the switch off TEST and onto one of the regular settings.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

You may need to play with the position of the lights and the sensor to fit your lighting needs.

How to Install an Exterior Security Light | Pretty Handy Girl

Now you can feel safer knowing your house is well lit at night and your path is lit when you take out the trash.

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7 replies
  1. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for the post! I always thought that installing a motion detecting light is a complicated process not as easy as switching one light for another. I will get this done soon.

    Reply
  2. Jan
    Jan says:

    This is a great tutorial! But let’s just say you don’t have any previous lights where you want it. How hard is it to install then? How difficult is installing a junction box for it (especially with concrete siding)? Thanks!

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] 6. Light up the entrance to your home – A smart way to keep thieves away is to utilize lighting. Lighting with a motion sensor automatically turns on when someone is in a specific zone or area.  Installing your own exterior motion sensor is a relatively easy DIY project. […]

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