Basement Light existingBasement finished few years ago, and electrician did all the wiring and gone. All lights have been working fine for several years. I recently had the need to change a light fixture, and noticed that the existing light fixture box, when opened, the fixture uses white cables on both the sides of the fixture (instead of one white and the other black). My new fixture has black and white wires. I am confused as to where should I connect the white and the black, the fact that there is no black wire used by the existing light fixture.

Apologies for the correction. My light fixture actually has one black wire and 2 separate white wires connected to two screws on the existing light fixture. My question is, how do I connect the 2 white wires to the new fixture's white wire (can I connect all three with a cap)?

  • 1
    Well, it would be more correct to state that you can't tell which wire is which, but if your old fixture worked, one of the white wires should have been a black wire, the "electrician" (probably not) just didn't bother with doing it correctly. You can determine which one is "hot" (should be black) and which one is "neutral" (should be white) if there is also a ground (bare) wire in the box. Using a volt meter or circuit tester, there should be no significant voltage between neutral and ground and full voltage between the hot and ground. If there is no ground wire, it's even more wrong.
    – JRaef
    Apr 11, 2019 at 22:12
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    Once you determine which one is hot, wrap it with black electrician's tape to signify that for the next person.
    – JRaef
    Apr 11, 2019 at 22:13
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    Can you post photos of the inside of the box? Apr 11, 2019 at 23:22
  • You can edit in a photo by hitting edit under your tags, and then hitting the "mountains and sun" icon. Apr 12, 2019 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


Just wirenut the two white wires that were connected to the old fixture to the white wire from the new fixture

Since we have a black wire (our switched hot) coming from the switch, and its matching white (always-hot in the switch loop) nutted to two black wires in back, we know that the black wire landing on the fixture is a switched-hot, and the two white wires landing on the current fixture must then be neutrals. So, simply nut both of the white neutrals together and to the new fixture's neutral, and you'll be good.

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