How to Replace a Recessed Lighting Eyeball

What You'll Need
New fixture
Wire nuts
Pliers or wire stripper
Circuit tester

Recessed lighting eyeballs can be a beautiful decorative accent in your ceiling. Choosing the right recessed lighting fixtures will create a well lit and attractive room. Using a recessed lighting eyeball to focus some of the lights on desired areas makes for a distinctive decorative touch. The eyeball can be positioned to highlight specific area in the room, be it a work of art or a desk. You can create nice effects using an eyeball. If you have a problem with your existing lighting you will need to know how to replace a recessed lighting eyeball. This is something that can be done by the do-it-yourselfer but it is highly recommended that you have a comfortable working knowledge of electricity, wiring, and components. It is often helpful to study the wiring diagram in advance so that you are familiar with the steps involved in the installation process. Replacing the recessed lighting eyeball is much the same as replacing any recessed lighting fixture.

Step 1 – Locate the Electrical Panel and Turn Power Off

The first thing you must do when working with anything electrical is to be sure the power is turned off to the area where you are working. Often times the breakers are marked by the builder but sometimes they are incorrect. You may have to turn the breakers on and off, one by one, until you locate the correct one for your wire source. Always be sure to test with a circuit tester to be sure power is off while working.  

Step 2 – Remove the Fixture

Remove the fixture in the same way it went in. First remove the decorative ring then remove the bulb. You will have to pull the fixture out of the ceiling as it is held in with clips on the inside of the unit. Be careful not to enlarge the size of the hole. It is important that your new fixture be the same size as the old one or slightly bigger so that it will stay in the ceiling.

Step 3 – Disconnect the Wires

Disconnect the wires from the fixture to the junction box. 

Step 4 – Attach the Wires

Reattach the new wires to the junction box using wire nuts. Strip the wires slightly if it has not come pre-stripped. Remember that wire coloring is standard so black goes to black, and so on. Be sure to make connections snugly and that the green ground wire is connected.

Step 5 – Set in Place

After tucking away any wires into the box you now need to push the entire lighting fixture into the ceiling through your hole. Your fixture will have clips that will hold it tight to the ceiling. The light should fit flush in its mounting.  

Screw the light bulb into the fixture. The fixture will have a ring of decorative molding that you will attach.

Adjust the eyeball into the position where you want it focused. It is easier now when the bulb is cool than when it has become warm.

Step 6 - Test

The final step is to test it to be sure it is operating properly by turning it on.