Pendant ceiling lights in a room aren’t always positioned where you want them. Often they are placed in the centre of the ceiling, which can create quite harsh illumination. A softer effect can be achieved by moving the rose further to one side of the room. Ceiling roses can easily be moved, especially if your house has recently been built or has been re-wired to bring it up to modern standards. If you have, or suspect you have, old wiring then check it first before you start work. If the cable is contained in old rubber sheathing or if existing pendant lights have a twisted fabric covered flex, then don’t touch it. Get a professional, qualified electrician to inspect your electrical system and update it as necessary.
Moving a ceiling rose will require you to lift the floorboards in the room above.
It is not enough just to switch off the power at the light switch on the wall; you will also need to switch off the power at the consumer unit and remove the fuse of the lighting circuit you are working on.
1 Remove the ceiling rose
Only after you have switched off the power and removed the circuit fuse can you unscrew the cover of the ceiling rose you want to relocate. Let the cover slide down the pendant flex. Remove the wood screws that fix it. Inspect the connections so you can re-wire it in the same way – make a quick sketch diagram if it helps. Identify the switch-return wire – if it has not already been labelled. If there is only one red and one black conductor, then the rose is on a junction box system and won’t have a switch cable. There will be two or three cables running into the rose. Label them carefully as the switch and circuit cables. Disconnect the conductors from the cable terminals and separate any that are twisted together. Unscrew the backplate from the ceiling. Remove the rose, flex and lamp holder complete.
2 Install in new position
Measure carefully to locate the old and the intended new position of the rose and mark it on the floor above the ceiling you are working on. Lift the floorboards over both positions. Pass enough 1mm sq. two-core and earth cable from the old rose position to the new position, leaving at least 150mm (6in) spare at each end. If the cable has to cross joists, drill 12mm (1/2in) in them about 50mm (2in) down for safety, or notch the tops of the joist to take the cable and protect it with a length of protective channel (available at electrical stores). If the room above the rose is a loft area, space cable clips to the joists to secure the cable. Downstairs push a screwdriver through the ceiling at the new light position: if it hits a joist, make a new hole to one side. The cable can still pass through to one side but will be concealed by the rose screwed to the joist. If the screwdriver falls between two joists, fix a ‘noggin’ to the joists on each side. Never fix a ceiling rose to the plaster ceiling alone – it won’t be able to support the weight of the lamp. At the new position, feed the cable through the hole in the ceiling. Strip back the sheath to expose about 75mm (3in) of the red (live), black (neutral) and bare wire (earth) conductors. Strip off about 12mm (1/2in) of the insulation and sleeve the bare earth wire in green/yellow sleeve, leaving 12mm (1/2in) bare at the end.
3 Connect to the terminals
Feed the cable through the hole in the ceiling. Push the cable through the hole in the back of the ceiling rose.
Re-connect the conductors to their terminals, then gently pull the surplus cable back up through the ceiling. Screw the rose into position on the joist or noggin, and replace the rose cover. On the floor above, pull the old cable back through the old hole in the ceiling. The ‘old’ supply cable will be joined to the new length of cable via a 30-amp junction box, secured on a platform between the joists made from a strip of wood that sits on the battens. Make sure that all the bare earth wires are insulated in green/yellow sleeves in the ends of both cables. Remove the screws from the terminals and lay the conductors across them: the colour matched wires from both cables will share a terminal: the earth (green/ yellow) conductors in the middle terminal; the red (live) and the black (neutral) conductors on the end terminals. Replace the fixing screws and tighten with a screwdriver making sure that the conductors are secure and the cables fit in their entry holes with their sheathing running into the box. Fit the cover on the junction box and fix each length of cable to a nearby joist with cable clips to take the strain off the terminals. Switch on the power and test the light. Replace the floorboards and fill up and make good the old rose hole in the ceiling.
Some ceiling lights dispense with ceiling roses: these are known as ‘close-mounted’ ceiling lights because they are mounted close to the ceiling and not hung from a flex as a pendant light.
A close-mounted ceiling light is screwed directly to the ceiling by means of a backplate that houses the lamp holder. Sometimes, close-mounted lights are supplied without a back-plate, but wiring regulations require all unsheathed conductors and terminals to be enclosed in a non-combustible housing. If you are using a light fitting with no backplate, you must fit a B ESA box in order to comply with the safety regulations.
A BESA box is a plastic or metal box that is fixed into the ceiling void so it lies flush with the ceiling.There are screw fixing lugs on the box that should line up with the fixing holes on the light fitting’s cover plate – but check that they do before you buy.The light is attached to the BESA box by two machine screws.
- Never attempt electrical work that is beyond your knowledge or capabilities. If in doubt, call in a professional electrician.
- Wear rubber-soled shoes to work on an electrical installation and use screwdrivers with insulated handles.
- Always turn off at the mains and remove the fuse for the circuit you are working on.
- Check you have isolated any electrical equipment you are working on by testing with a neon-test screwdriver.
- Keep a torch, insulated screwdriver and a selection of cartridges or fuse wire near the fusebox or consumer unit in case of emergency.
- When you have identified which fuse supplies power to which lighting circuit, label it or make a diagram of your consumer unit for future use.