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How To Change a Porch Light Fixture

Porch lights have not only an esthetic function, but a practical one as well. They provide lighting for your entryways for security and safety at night. You can find porch light fixtures in a bewildering array of styles, sizes, and finishes. But, like everything, they wear out over time, need to be replaced as styles change, or as a finishing touch to a remodel. So, learn how to change porch light fixtures and add this skill to your bevy of do-it-yourself capabilities. Changing porch light fixtures is not a difficult job but it does require some attention to detail, especially safety concerns since you will be working with electricity.


Porch lights have a practical as well as esthetic function

Porch lights have a practical as well as esthetic function

  1. Make sure that you purchased a wet location fixture if your porch light will be exposed to the weather.
  2. Determine which circuit in your electrical panel controls the porch light. If that circuit is not clearly marked in the panel you will have to manually determine which one does.
  3. Leave your porch light on and begin turning off individual circuit breakers or unscrewing individual fuses in your electrical panel and turning them back on again one at a time until you find the one you need.
  4. Turn off that circuit breaker or unscrew the fuse and post it with a note or some tape indicating that the circuit is being worked on and to leave it off. Red works real well for this purpose.
  5. It is best to check the porch light wiring with a circuit tester or multi-meter before working on it just to make sure that the electricity is indeed off.


  1. Disassemble the fixture by removing glass panels or globes.
  2. Remove the light bulb.
  3. Remove the small metal nuts or screws that hold the fixture to the electrical junction box.
  4. Inside the box, pull out the wires that connect to the fixture.
  5. Remove the wire nuts on the black wire and the white wire.
  6. Remove the ground wire from the ground screw on the fixture.


  1. Disassemble the new porch light fixture, if necessary.
  2. Have a helper hold the light fixture while you connect the ground wire to the green ground screw in the back or base of the fixture.
  3. Connect the black wire from the fixture to the black wire in the box with a wire nut.
  4. Connect the white wire to the white wire in the box in the same way.
  5. Mount the fixture to the mount bar of the junction box.
  6. Tighten the mount screws.
  7. Reassemble the light fixture.
  8. Restore the electrical power and remove the note from your electrical panel.
  9. Test the light fixture by turning the switch on and off.


Porch light fixtures utilize small parts such as screws, nuts, and washers. Use a container to keep these parts from being lost while you are working on the light.

If you need to use a ladder to reach the fixture, make sure it is positioned properly. It is best to have someone steady the ladder while you are on it.

Use all the safety measures needed for working on electricity.

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