Track lighting has been a popular choice of lighting for years. With this style of light, you can angle the single lights so they shine down on specific areas of a room or on a specific item in the room. For instance, you might use track lighting to shine down on a fireplace mantle where beautiful things are displayed, or perhaps you want a lighting option that would allow one person on the couch to adjust the light to read and another person sitting in a chair to adjust another light to work on cross-stitching.
The great thing about track lighting is that the designs available today are very different from what you would have found 10 years earlier. Today, track lighting is something that complements the room, actually becoming a beautiful fixture that enhances the overall look and feel. If you are thinking about adding or changing existing track lighting in your home, you might consider doing it yourself, which is not difficult.
First, you will need to purchase the track lighting kit of your choice and then have wire cutters and a circuit tester nearby. The one thing you want to make sure of is that the kit you buy also includes the light fixtures, the track, mounting bracket, cover for the mounting bracket, and the screws and anchors. While most do, some will not so rather than arrive home only to discover that you are missing half of what you need, take a minute to check the box for contents.
The most important thing for this and any other type of electrical project is to turn off the power breaker for the circuit you will be working on. If you have people at home, you should tape a piece of paper to the breaker box so no one accidentally turns it back on before you are ready. For sake of example, we will say you have existing track lighting that will be replaced.
Once the power is off, remove the screws holding the track lighting into place and when the wires are exposed, use your circuit tester to ensure there is no electricity in the wires. Although there are many different types of testers on the market, we would recommend that you use the audible type, which will keep beeping if a live current is detected
Next, with the wires being dead, remove the connectors and then disconnect the wires. Next, you will remove the old mounting bracket. With wire strippers, you will now strip one-half inch of insulation from the end of the neutral wire on the new mounting bracket. This can be identified as the one with the white insulation. Keep in mind that the neutral wire is white, the �hot� wire is black, and the grounding wire is green. Therefore, when connecting your new wires, you will always attach the same colors together.
Once you get to the point of being ready to connect your new bracket, you want to twist each of the wire fixtures to the wire of the coordinating color found in the old fixture. Twist each of the wires of that fixture to the same colored wire in the opening that goes to the new fixture. These wires will then be secured with a wire connector that is generally screwed onto the two wires.
Once all of the wires are coordinated and connected, press them back into the opening, being careful not to disconnect any of them. The mounting bracket will now be positioned over the opening, and then secured in place using the mounting screws, which should come with the kit).
After the bracket is in place, secure the track by placing it over the bracket, positioning it correctly on the ceiling. Another important note is that this does not necessarily mean it will be centered. When in position, take a pencil and mark the openings in the track at the location for the anchors and screws to be inserted into the ceiling.
The screws will now be tightened on either side of the bracket to hold the track into place. Next, the component known as the �live end� will be inserted into place and then turned to ensure it is secure. For the last step, the lights will be positioned where you want them on the track. The power to that circuit can now be turned back one to ensure the lights are working properly.