How to Fit Downlights
Downlights are not difficult to fit, assuming there is a power source nearby — there is no need to remove floorboards and to work from above, nor do you have to remove an entire section of ceiling. Downlights can be surface-mounted; however, fully or partially recessed types are more effective and less obtrusive.
The first task is to ensure that there is enough space above the ceiling to take the fitting. If there is too little for a fully recessed light, choose a partially recessed one instead. The particular design will be specified in the manufacturers’ catalogues and/or on the packaging. Downlights can be fitted with plastered ceilings, plasterboard or wood panelling. Before you start, plan where the lights will go. If you need to illuminate a worktop, ensure that the fittings are placed close enough together to create overlapping pools of light. They must be positioned directly above the work surface. Otherwise you will find yourself shadowing the work because you are standing between it and the light source.
It is vital to switch off power at the mains or fuse box before you begin. Do not switch it on again until you are sure that the light is correctly connected. Always follow manufacturers’ instructions when connecting the light flex (cord) to mains, and always use a terminal block. In the United States and Australia, check local regulations before you attempt electrical work.
Materials and Equipment
• downlight(s) and bulb(s) template or pattern constructed to diameter of the fitting
• screwdriver, if necessary
1. Ensure that there is enough space above the ceiling (ie. between the ceiling and the floor above) to fit the downlight. Required depths are usually listed in manufacturers’ catalogues.
2. Switch power off at the mains or fuse box. Draw the template to mark the size of the opening.
3. Cut out the opening with a padsaw. Keep the edges tidy; smooth irregularities with.
4. Connect light to mains supply, as instructed, using a terminal block. Fit the downlight into place. If it has clips for fitting, swing both up and push the two longer arms into the hole.
5. Snap the fitting into place and clip on the trim, or fix according to the instructions.
6. Once you are sure that the light is properly connected, add the recommended lamp or bulb and restore power.