It is possible to turn a hardwired light into a plug-in one. In this article, I’ll share how you can do just that.
The process is presented in a step-by-step format that’s easy to understand and works like a checklist. It’s important to have good understanding of some basics to wiring before you begin.
Some basics to note first
- First, you need to know if your hardwired light fixture has a grounding wire. The color of this wire will differ depending on your region, they’re often bare or green. If it does, you’ll have to use an extension cord that uses three wires and a grounding pin. If it doesn’t, a two-wire extension cord will do you fine.
- Next, you should cut the female plug off the extension cord. Use a utility knife to cut away four inches of sheathing off the cord and then use a splicing tool to expose a half-inch at the end of the black and white wires. If you’re working with a two-wire extension cord, the wires might not have sheathing. It’ll be plastic instead; in which case you need to take six inches of wire off instead. Expose the half-inch at the ends of the two-wire cords, too.
- Twist the white wires of the light and the cord together in a clockwise direction. Screw on a wire nut when they’re secure and the wire is completely covered. Electrical tape can make it even safer. Do the same for the black wires. If the fixture has a ground wire, twist it to the ground wire on the cord.
- Make sure there’s a secure surface on the light’s new mounting position. A stud or rafter should be enough. If you can find a secure surface, attach the light to the adapter plate. If there is no secure surface, install screw anchors into the wall to make your own. Screw the fixture in.
- Make an opening in the wall to thread the cord through. Try to make it unnoticeable so it looks good. Once run through, plug it in and try it out! If it works, you’re done.
Can I Wire A Ceiling Light To A Plug?
You can attach any light to a plug as long as the electrics are there, including a ceiling light. All you need to do is attach two cord wires to the non-earth pins of the plug you’re using.
You do this by stripping away the insulation on the end of the cord wires, open the plug up, and attach the wires to the corresponding pins. Then you close the plug and make sure that it’s secured in place.
Your plug may not have an earth pin, in which case you don’t need to worry about avoiding it. If it does have an earth pin, it’ll be the large pin that sometimes has E labeled near it. The light wires connect to the other two pins.
Some fixtures won’t have an earth wire because there are no conductive materials, so there’s no chance of catching an electric shock. Another great safety tip is to make sure the fixture isn’t mounted in an awkward position.
If it is, the cord will be stressed. Over time, that cord will wear down to the point where the electricals inside could become exposed. The cord should stay still and not move when the fixture is mounted.
Can You Put A Plug On A Hard Wire Light?
You can put a plug on a hardwired light. The exact process will differ depending on the exact components you’re working with but wirework stays the same across most models.
Any wiring can be converted to be plug-in compatible with the right equipment and know-how. Here’s the process that I have done in the past.
Separate And Strip The Wires
Most light fixtures have two wires that’ll stick out of them. If the wires aren’t already exposed, you’ll need to strip and separate them. If the fixture has been worked on before, it may be too short or frayed from prior cutting and stripping. In those cases, you can cut the fray off and add new wire.
Wire The Plug
Grab whichever plug you’re using. There may be a yellow component in between the prongs of a two-pronged plug, though it may be a different color. Remove that to make room for the wiring if possible.
Open it up with a screwdriver to see what we’re dealing with. Under the prongs, you should see pins that can be attached to wiring. It’s easier to see if the plug already has wiring attached to them, they’ll be right there. The wiring should be secured by screws. Loosen them.
Feed the light fixture wires into the plug through the base and out of the front. Attach them to the prong screws and wind the wires around the screw posts to secure them. Then tighten those screws to make sure everything is properly secured.
Reattach the prongs into the plug, making sure the screws are facing outward as you do. Make sure they fit snugly so they can be inserted and pulled out of sockets without any risk of detaching. Pliers are great for pushing them in the plug, since our fingers can get in the way and make it hard.
If you had to remove a yellow (or differently colored) portion from the plug then you should replace it. If it doesn’t pop back in, you may have a wiring problem so dive back in and make sure all is well.
Once the plug has been put back together and there’s no exposed wire or pieces that don’t quite fit right, like bulging at the front of the plug or prongs that rattle around in their casing. If that’s the case, you should be done! Just turn the light on to see if it works.
If it does, it should work until the light bulbs give out just like any other light.