Six Steps to Soffit Lighting Installation

Recessed light in a white ceiling
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What You'll Need
Pot lights
14/2 Cable
Wire nuts
Wire stripper
Wire cutter

The best soffit lighting that you can install in your home is recessed or pot light. This is because it is a type of lighting you fix to the ceiling, projecting a downward light direction. The trim will be the light’s only visible area. In a home environment, you can install recessed soffit lighting in kitchens and bathrooms, or the library, den, or theatre room.

Step 1 - Identify the Locations

First of all, you need to identify the areas in the soffit where you want to install the lights. Make sure that the area is big enough for the installation. Keep in mind that the height of the light fixture should be at least five and one-half inches. Put a mark on the soffit by tracing the template of the remodel pot light fixtures and then cut the holes with a keyhole saw.

Step 2 - Install the Cable

romex cable with wires exposed

Turn the breaker off at the main panel to disable the power to that circuit and eliminate the chances of getting an electric shock. Run a 14/2 non-metallic (NM) cable from the switch to the closest hole in the soffit. Keep in mind that you have to leave an extra ten inches or so of cable hanging out from every hole for the actual light wiring and installation. From there, forward the cable onto the next consecutive openings until they're all covered.

Step 3 - Wire the Pot Lights

At the first pot light opening, put the wire from the switch and the one going to the next lights into the electrical box and fasten the light fixtures into the eave. Repeat the process for all the Pot Lights.

Step 4 - Strip the Cables

Use a pair of wire strippers to strip six inches of sheathing from the 14/2 non-metallic cables in every fixture in the soffit. This is because you need to see the bare copper conductor inside, along with the other colored wires. Now use the wire stripper again to strip half an inch of insulation from all the white and the black conductors.

Step 5 - Connect the Wires

Return to the first fixture to connect the wires into their respective places. Put the two black wires (one from each of the two cables) together with a wire connector. Now connect the white wires together in the same fashion, and finally connect the green wire with the bare-copper wire together and also to the ground screw. Do this same procedure repeatedly for every soffit light fixture that you want to install.

Step 6 - Install the Soffit Lights

hand screwing a flood light into a recessed light fixture

Place the light fixtures into the holes that you cut into the soffit. Press the black clips upwards with a flathead screwdriver until you hear it click down into the slot that there is in the soffit light fixture itself. Make sure that all the black clips are locked so that the soffit light fixture will be securely in place.

After you have finished the soffit lighting installation and you switch the light, you should see the light coming down from above. It will look somewhat like a large floodlight or a small spotlight. Such light fixtures have many names; they are usually called recessed lights or downlights, but in Canada, they call them pot lights and in the United States they are known as can lights or canister lights.