Ceiling lamp replacements are fairly easy if you know how electricity works. Electricity can be dangerous to your health and home. Electrical shock, while standing on a stepladder, can knock you to the floor. A faulty wiring job can burn down your house. See my recent article on electrical repair dangers here.
Do not purchase a used lamp. A used lamp is like a used tire. Someone replaced it for a reason. After all the work of installing the lamp, you may find it has a bad socket or switch. A new lamp is a more confident purchase and it comes with instructions to install it. There are many different models of ceiling lamps to choose from and the more elaborate the lamp, the more confusing the installation. Read the instructions on the box before you purchase the new lamp. If you don’t understand the instructions, you will not be able to install it yourself. Choose wisely before removing the old lamp.
The replacement of a ceiling light fixture requires a sturdy ladder, preferably wooden, a razor knife, a pair of electrical pliers or wire cutters with a wire stripper, a Phillip screwdriver, a flathead screwdriver and a few wire nuts.
Turn off the electric power at the breaker box and the wall switch if applicable. Remove the globe from the lamp. Use a razor knife to cut the paint seal around the ceiling hanger plate cover. This will prevent any paint chipping in the ceiling. Carefully remove the ceiling hanger plate cover to expose the electrical wire connections. This may require a screwdriver. There should be two or three wires protruding through the ceiling where they are connected to the lamp. The normal color for each wire is black, white and green. Wire nuts are usually used to connect the wires together. Unscrew the wire nuts, one at a time and separate the wires. The green wire may be connected to the ceiling hanger plate with a screw. Lower the old lamp to the floor.
Remounting the new lamp onto the ceiling may require another set of hands. If this is the case, another ladder will be needed. Two people on one ladder is inviting an accident. Follow the directions for installation that came with the new lamp. The black, white and green wires should correspond with the wires protruding from the ceiling. Connect them together by twisting the bare ends together and screw on the wire nut so that no bare wires show. Shove the wires into the hole in the ceiling and replace the ceiling hanger plate cover. If your new lamp is a hanging lamp, follow the directions that came with the lamp. If the new lamp has a ceiling hanger plate cover already attached to it, then your job is complete. Turn the power on and enjoy your handiwork.
Sources: Personal experience