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Anonymous asked in Home & GardenDo It Yourself (DIY) · 1 decade ago

putting lamp in old house?

I recently bought a old house. The wiring that comes out of the cieling from where I want to put a lamp is old wiring that does not have colors, it is just brown colored cloth like insulation. Right now I am not able to have the house re-wired, but until then I would like to put in a lamp that I bought. The lamp that I bought has two wires going to it. I have two problems. One is comeing out of the cieling is one single wire, and two sets of two wires intertwined. I think that the two sets of wires that come out of the cieling, each set will go to one wire on the lamp. The other problem is on the cieling the cup that the wires come out of has one screw hole on each side of the cup to screw the flat piece of metal that the cover will conciel, but I cannot screw the threaded piece of brass into the metal because there is a knob blocking the rod from screwing in. How do I mount this lamp.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    both S S and steve have valid points. this is my best guess. you probably have a light switch. if you do the single wire probably comes from the switch. one of your 2 twisted pairs should be the nuetral. on new wiring this would be the white wire. the other pair of twisted wires will be hot all the time. on new wiring this would be the black wire. now you need the test light or pig tail light. you don't need a large bulb in your pigtail, a 7 1/2 watt bulb will do just fine. if your twisted wires are not bare so you can see the wires you need to shut off the electricity so you can bare a spot you can touch the pig tail to. turn the electricity back on. make sure the light swich is off. now carefully touch one wire from the pigtail to one set of the twisted wires. now take the other pigtail wire and touch the other twisted wires. the bulb should light up. next turn the light switch on. touch one wire from the pig tail to the single wire. next touch the other pig tail wire to one set of twisted wires. if the bulb lights up you have the neutral. if it doesn,t then the twisted wires are the hot ones. you will need a wire nut(sometimes called a scotch lock). twist the wire nut onto the set of twisted wires that did not light the bulb. be very careful not to touch any other wires when you do this.wire nuts come in different colors. yellow should be the one for you. the black wire from the light will go to the single wire and the white wire from the light will go to the other twisted wires. now that i went trough all of that, there must have been a light there befoe. if there was and you took it down, just hook the new light wires to where the old ones came off. now for mounting your new light. it sounds like you have what is commonly called a ceiling pan held in place by a metal fixture bar. that would explain the nut in the middle of the pan. you could go to a do-it-yourself store or a qaulity hardware store and get a shorter screw nipple. or you could use the trial and error method and carefully cut off the unneeded part that goes into the pan. good luck.

    Source(s): 11 yrs. as an electrician.
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  • 1 decade ago

    Before installing the fixture get a pigtail tester. It is just a socket that you can screw a regular bulb into and has a black and white lead coming off of it( about 4$) Make sure before you tie in your fixture you have the correct wires by testing with the pigtail. To hang the fixture, go to and electrical supply with the canopy from the lamp and measure how deep the electrical box is in the ceiling. That center stud that the brass is hitting can take a fitting called a hickey. You can screw you fixture into this. As far as there being aluminum wire I doubt it. Aluminum wire for 15amp and 20 amp circuits was installed from about 1968 to 1973. If you snip the end of the wire you should see that IT is copper. Good luck.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    2nd question first, you can go to a store that sells electrical supplies and they will get you the proper adapter.

    The problem I see here is that your old house wiring may be aluminum, and if so you have be very careful puting in a lamp wired with nickel or copper wires, if you have any sort of "loose" connection, there will a chance for corrosion and fire.

    You may want to invest in a $20 meter at the Electrial supply place to find the "hot" wire and also have them get you some solution to put on the connected wires to prevent corrosion.

    I hope I don't make it sound too complex, it really isn't but you do want to get this done correct or you run the risk of damage to your house.

    Congrats on the purchase, old houses are great fix up as they have so much more character than new ones.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Take a good look at the insulation on the wires. You should be able to see a difference in the two. One all black and the other should have white wove into it.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Hire an expert and let him lit your house with your new lamp. Why take the risk with muddled up wires?

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