Installing an exterior wall light

Summary: Wiring an exterior wall light: Learn how to wire an exterior wall light, prepare a new lighting circuit, fit a boxed light fitting, fit a bracketed light fitting, install an inside switch, and fit an outside switch.

This is a non-notifiable project providing the spur is not run from a circuit in a kitchen or special location. Installation must conform to Electrical Regulations.

The safest way to install a wall light is to run a spur from the indoor lighting circuit. It is also possible to run the spur from a socket outlet on the ring-main via an FCU. The switch should be placed on the inside of the wall and you will need weatherproof light fittings designed for mounting on an outdoor wall.

Preparing a new lighting circuit

The lighting circuit for a new exterior wall light.

Fitting a boxed light fitting

If your wall light consists of a bulb between a base and transparent cover, you can fix it to the wall by the base.

  • Hold the base of the light in position on the outside wall and draw around it, marking the screw holes.
  • Drill and plug the screw holes.
  • Feed the cable through the hole in the wall from inside and thread it through the hole in the light base.
  • Screw the base to the wall.
  • Prepare the cable and cores for connection and sleeve any bare earths in green-and-yellow insulation.
  • Connect the live and neutral cores to separate terminals in the bulb holder and the earth to the earth terminal.

Fitting a bracketed light fitting

If your light is fixed to the wall with a bracket as in many lantern-style fittings, it will already have flex protruding from the bracket.

  • Connect the flex tails to the terminals in one half of a connector block.
  • Connect the supply cable cores to the terminals opposite so that lives (brown), neutrals (blue) and earths are opposite each other.
  • Fit a gasket around the base of the bracket to prevent water contact with the conductors.
  • Screw the bracket to the wall and apply silicone sealant around the base to make a watertight seal.

Installing an inside switch

  • Feed the switch cable through the hole in the back of the switch mounting box and screw the mounting box to the wall. To install a flush-mounted mounting box, follow the instructions in the project on installing sockets.
  • Prepare both ends of the switch cable and the cores, insulating bare earths.
  • Place a piece of brown insulation tape around the blue core to label it as live.
  • At a four-terminal junction box connect the live (brown) core from the flex or lighting fixture and the brown-tagged blue core (tagged live) from the switch cable to one terminal; connect all the remaining live (brown/red) cores (from the spur cable and switch cable) to one terminal; the neutral (blue/black) cores (from the spur cable and flex) to another terminal; and the earths to the last spare terminal.
  • If you are installing a new switch for the light fitting, at the switch, connect the cores to the face-plate terminals: live core to the top terminal marked TOP or COMMON, neutral core either of the bottom terminals and earth to the earth terminal in the switch mounting box.
  • If you wish the light fitting to be controlled by an existing switch, replace the existing switch face-plate with a two-gang switch. Connect the cores in the new switch cable to the first gang terminals and the original switch cable to the second gang in the same way as for a new switch.
  • Screw the switch face-plate to the mounting box.

Fitting an outside switch

To fit an additional switch outside, make the inside switch a two-way switch and place a one-way weatherproof switch on the outside wall. It should be positioned back to back with the inside switch.

  • Drill a hole to pass the cable between the switches.
  • Thread a short length of three core and earth cable through it.
  • Follow instructions for installing two-way switches.

Author: C J Mills Google+