Rewiring a Lamp - Ravinia Plumbing
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Rewiring a Lamp

Tread with caution before you undertake any DIY electrical project.  Messing up other DIY projects can lead to damage and expensive repairs.  Do an electrical project wrong, and you can seriously injure yourself, or worse.  Still, there are a few smaller projects you can do yourself.  One such project is rewiring a lamp.

While lamps should last for years, they may occasionally need rewiring.  This is a simple task that should take you less than an hour and cost not much more than $20. Here are the steps.

  1. Purchase a lamp kit at your hardware store. A typical kit will include:
    • 8-foot cord
    • 18-gauge wire
    • Plug molded into place at the end of the wire
    • Replacement harp that fits into the socket and which will accept the lampshade
    • Socket rated at 660 watts / 250 volts
    • Socket that accepts a standard base bulb, 150 watts maximum
  1. Make sure you have the appropriate tools, including a wire stripper, utility knife, pliers, a screwdriver, and electrical tape.
  2. Make sure the lamp is unplugged before working on it.
  3. Lift off the lampshade and remove the light bulb and harp (the stanchion surrounding the light bulb that holds the lampshade).
  4. If there is a protective base at the bottom of the lamp (perhaps made of felt-lined cardboard) very gently pry it off the bottom of the lamp. Be careful not to tear it.
  5. Loosen the socket at the top of the lamp by removing the screw and then unscrewing the socket but leaving it in place.
  6. Cut the electrical cord from the bottom of the lamp. Leave about two inches of extra wire.  Then, holding the socket, pull out the socket and attached wire.
  7. Remove the socket shell from the socket.
  8. Slide the exposed end of the new cord through the lamp’s center post. Secure the wires.
  9. Attach the wires to the socket. Strip them with the wire stripper if the ends are not exposed. Use the screwdriver to attach the exposed wires to the terminals on the new socket.
  10. Reassemble the lamp. Put the socket shell around the socket. Screw the socket onto the lamp.  Pull excess cord out of the bottom of the lamp.  Replace the harp and replace the protective base (you may need glue for that).  Screw in the light bulb and reattach the shade.
  11. Then, and only then, test the lamp.

Caveat: if the lamp is fragile or extremely valuable, you may decide it is in your best interests to have a professional handle the rewiring. 

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Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric
575 Bond St,
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
P: (847) 579-5565
F: (847) 831-5694
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