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How to Install a Shower Light

You cant install just any light inside a shower. The steam and moisture in a shower will corrode a regular light fixture in a short period of time. You also risk electric shock from an uninterrupted flow of water striking a poorly insulated fixture and then falling on you. The safest shower light fixtures are recessed into the ceiling and sealed against moisture with corrosion-resistant trim. They arent difficult to install if you have access to the space above the shower through an attic.

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Step 1 Measure the length and width of the ceiling and mark the midpoint of both measurements. Use a carpenters square to draw an X where the midpoints intersect.

Step 2 Attach a small drill bit to a drill and drive a hole through the X. Drill through the drywall into the attic. Go into the attic and find the hole. Center a recessed lighting can over the hole and draw the outline of the can with a pencil. Cut out the outline with a drywall saw by pushing the point of the saw through the drywall and then cutting with a push-pull motion.

Step 3 Position the can in the hole so that the front edge is flush with the ceiling. Screw in the mounting straps to adjacent rafters. Position the electrical box for the light on a rafter and secure it with two 1 1/2-inch screws.

Step 4 Choose a location on a bathroom wall for the shower light switch. Draw the outline of the back of a remodeling electrical box at that location. Cut out a hole for the box with the drywall saw.

Step 5 Run electrical cable from a nearby live circuit or directly from the house panel to the switch. Wire this cable to a live outlet by connecting the black, white and ground wires to available brass, silver and green screws on the outlet, respectively. Wire it to a light by twisting the black, white and bare wires of the cable to the wires of the same color in the light box. Wire it to the panel by connecting the white and bare wires to the silver and ground bus, connecting the black wire to a circuit breaker and snapping the breaker into an available slot.

Step 6 Use a 1/2-inch spade bit to drill a hole in the top plate of the wall over the switch and then feed the cable down through the hole. Intercept it at the hole you cut out for the switch box and pull it through. Feed a second cable to the switch in the same way and run it to the light.

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Step 7 Feed both cables through the back of the remodeling box. Push the box into the hole and hook the anchors on the back around the drywall. Tighten the screws in front with a screwdriver to pull the anchors in and secure the box. Remove 6 inches of sheathing from both cables with a utility knife and separate the wires. Strip half an inch from the ends of the insulated cables with a wire stripper.

Step 8 Connect the black wires from both cables to the brass terminals of a switch. Either insert the ends of the wires into the holes behind the terminals or wrap them clockwise around the terminals and tighten the screws with a screwdriver. Twist the two white wires together and screw on a wire cap. Twist the bare wires together, leaving one end longer than the other. Wrap the long end around the green ground screw on the switch and tighten the screw.

Step 9 Push the wires into the electric box and then screw the switch onto the box. Set the cover plate over the switch box and attach it with the screw provided with the plate.

Step 10 Feed the cable from the switch into the electric box for the light. Strip sheathing from the cable and expose the ends of the insulated wires. Twist the black wires together and then the white wires. Twist the bare wire from the cable with the green wire from the light, or attach the bare wire to the green ground screw in the box. Cap all wires that you have twisted together and then push the wires into the box and screw on the cover.

Step 11 Screw a light bulb into the light fixture and then install the cover according to the light manufacturers instructions.


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