Chandeliers are often elaborate and attractive choices for lighting a room.
But essentially, they are a more decorative light fixture – they’re still wired in much the same way as a typical pendant light.
Which begs the question – how easy (or difficult) is it to remove a chandelier, either for a thorough clean or to replace it with an upgraded fixture?
Just what steps are involved?
While it can vary, removing a chandelier is normally a two-person job. One person will need to support the chandelier. At the same time, the other unscrews the escutcheon from the ceiling, lowers it, and removes the mounting screws keeping the chandelier connected to the junction box before disconnecting the wires.
That’s a really quick summary, but it’ll be more helpful to go through it step-by-step. So let’s do that.
How To Take Down A Chandelier From High Ceiling?
Here’s a look at all the steps involved in removing a chandelier from a ceiling.
Disconnecting The Power
Before you do anything else, you need to disconnect the power at the circuit breaker.
You’re going to be removing the chandelier completely, which means leaving exposed wires behind.
You don’t want to risk any power being left on as you may accidentally touch the wires.
Even if you didn’t or you were wearing insulating gloves, it’s dangerous to leave bare wires close to each other with the power switched on – they could arc.
So make sure you remember this step!
Unscrewing The Escutcheon
The escutcheon is the part of the chandelier connected to the ceiling – essentially covering the hole from which the chandelier is hung.
You need to unscrew this – the mounting screw will be visible or hidden behind a decorative addition like a small dome or ball.
Look for anything that could be unscrewed, and twist it.
Once the screw is exposed, you can unscrew it and gently lower the escutcheon to the rest of the chandelier.
Removing The Mounting Screws
Underneath the escutcheon, a mounting plate will hold the chandelier in place next to the junction box.
The electrical wires alone certainly aren’t supporting all that weight!
So now, you need to remove the screws holding the chandelier into place.
Be aware that this is keeping the chandelier held up, so you need to support the chandelier as you do this – more on that below.
The chandelier needs to be supported throughout the next couple of steps.
Disconnecting The Wires
The only thing connecting the chandelier to the ceiling is the wiring – pull down the wires, and you’ll see the wire nut connectors holding them together.
Grabbing the wires, twist the nuts counter-clockwise to release them.
You may still need to separate the individual wires once they are nuts-free.
The ground wire may be separately connected to the junction box, likely screwed into place. If it is, unscrew it to release it.
Lowering The Chandelier
Once everything is disconnected, you can lower the chandelier to safety.
If you’re immediately replacing it or leaving the power switched off, you can leave the wires exposed.
If you aren’t replacing it immediately and need to turn the power back on, close off the wire with electrical tape, and push it back into the ceiling.
How To Reach High Ceilings To Safely Remove A Chandelier
One of the worst things you can do when trying to remove a chandelier is to fail to prepare, especially when it is installed on a high ceiling.
You must make sure you can reach the chandelier from a solid base. Stacking chairs, or using a ladder propped against another object, is extremely dangerous.
You could fall and break the chandelier, and it might injure you.
So, based on the height of the ceiling, make sure you use an appropriate tool that is securely positioned.
For ceilings up to 20 feet tall, you should use a ladder safely. You will need to ensure someone on the ground is holding the ladder steady.
You may need two people to support the chandelier for large chandeliers on ceilings up to 20 feet. This means a team of four people – two atop separate ladders and two supporting the ladders.
For extremely high ceilings in commercial buildings, you must either assemble proper scaffolding or use a scissor lift.
How To Safely Handle A Heavy Chandelier When Removing?
Safely removing heavy chandeliers takes work. Some may be too large to be properly carried by one person.
There are two ways to safely handle a heavy chandelier, depending on the size and shape.
One is to hold it, but potentially with more than one person supporting the weight.
The other is to carefully lower the chandelier into a blanket held by yourself and at least one other person. This helps to make the weight more manageable, but you must ensure you can retain a tight grip on the blanket.
Chandeliers are intricate items and may have additional decorations attached – hanging chains or jewels are typical.
They may be hooked onto the chandelier fitting.
If they are, remove them before you do anything else.
This makes it a lot easier to handle the chandelier during removal and can reduce the weight of the person supporting it.
Can I Change The Chandelier Light Myself?
There are two sides to this question – do you need professional help, and can you replace a chandelier alone?
The answer to the first question is no.
You should be fine without professional help from an electrician to replace or remove a chandelier.
As long as you ensure the power is switched off at the breaker and follow the steps above carefully, anyone can do it.
That’s another question, and it depends on two factors – the height of the ceiling and the size and weight of the chandelier.
If the ceiling is high, you should have someone with you in case of an accident up the ladder.
They should make sure the ladder stays secure.
If the chandelier is big and heavy, you’ll likely need at least one extra pair of hands to support it as you disconnect it.
It may even need two other helpers if it is particularly large.
You don’t need a professional, but you might need help from your friends or family.
You might feel intimidated by removing a chandelier without an electrician’s help, but it is pretty simple.
The hardest part is just keeping the chandelier safe as you remove it from the support holding it to the ceiling, so having a helper or two will make it much easier for you.
Have you replaced a chandelier, or have you been putting it off because you’re worried it would be too difficult for you to handle?