This heavy chandelier is hanging 18' above open floor space.


I want to take this down.

Is this attic 2x6 electrical box also supporting the fixture? This box is not attached to the joist.

enter image description here

Can I unscrew the side screws of this the box, remove the wiring without the chandelier falling to the floor below? Or is this the only support for the chandelier?

  • 3
    How did you determine that there is no screw attaching the box to the stud from inside the box? Jan 14, 2022 at 18:56
  • 3
    Very likely that there are a couple of tiny screws holding the decorative cover to the box. Remove those screws and you then find some more screws holding the chandelier to the box, plus access to the electrical connections. I don't think trying to do this from above will go well. Borrow or rent a tall ladder or scaffolding or scissor lift. Jan 14, 2022 at 19:06
  • 14
    This would be the perfect opportunity for youtube.com/watch?v=LFuYIi5-igc [you only need the last 20 seconds to get the joke, but it's worth 3 minutes of your time if you've never seen it.]
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 14, 2022 at 19:11
  • 3
    Full disclosure - I laughed hysterically! (Now help me avoid "Del and Rodney Smash the Chandelier" ;-)
    – Marinaio
    Jan 14, 2022 at 19:18
  • 3
    Do you intend to use the chandelier again? If not, cutting the chain and wire while supporting the weight of the chandelier is easiest. Then it's much easier to open the box. Otherwise you have to support the weight WHILE you open the box and carefully disentangle and disconnect the wires inside.
    – jay613
    Jan 14, 2022 at 19:48

2 Answers 2


Do NOT begin by removing the four screws called out by the arrows.

Depending on how the chandelier and rose are attached, the quality of the furniture in the room, and who is standing around at the time, you could do over a thousand dollars in damage and give somebody a concussion.

Unfortunately you cannot do this job from the attic. You will absolutely need to rent or borrow an eighteen foot A-frame ladder. Once you have the ladder everything else becomes possible. You will also need about forty feet of rope.

To begin, turn off the power at the service panel.

Climb up to the ceiling and unscrew the bronze ring holding the bezel in place. Watch the ceiling rose carefully while you do this to make sure that it is attached to the ceiling and not just resting on the bezel. Let the ring and bezel slide down the chain to rest on the chandelier.

Be prepared for the rose to come off the ceiling. You don't want to let it slide down the chain by itself. Carefully lower it to rest on the chandelier.

Now you can get at the inside of the junction box. Disconnect the wires. Observe how the chandelier is supported. You will probably see the bronze chain anchor screwed into a metal bar which is fastened to the j-box with two screws. Or there may be a nipple, hickey, or hook in the middle of the box. In any case it all has to come out.

But before you remove any hardware, you must support the weight of the chandelier. Here you will have to use your wits, because rigging the temporary support depends on the details of the existing installation. You might attach a ring bolt to the metal bar, or drive a screw hook through the top of the box into the joist. Just make sure it's strong enough for the weight of the chandelier.

Pass one end of the rope over the bar, or through the ring, or whatever, pull it down a foot or so, and tie it to the chain. Descend the ladder and pull on the rope to raise the chandelier a few inches. Tie the rope off to a radiator or door knob or something.

With the weight off the supporting hardware, you can disconnect it. Take all the time you need because you're not trying to hold onto a heavy chandelier at the same time.

Descend the ladder and move it aside. Take up the weight on the rope, untie it from its anchor, and lower it to the floor. I know this last step is obvious, but after all that description I just wanted the satisfaction of saying it: lower it to the floor. Aahh.

Note that most of the time you are on the ladder, the chandelier is not hanging straight down -- it is pushed aside by the ladder. If this is a nuisance, you can tie a rope to it and pull it aside.

I don't know what you want the result to look like but if you're not replacing the chandelier, you might leave the junction box in place just to hold a decorative cover. You could even use the chain anchor, bezel, and ring, painted like the ceiling.

If you remove the junction box, you MUST remove the cable attached to it. Do not leave unused electric cables attached to your house. You should probably remove and discard that cable anyway, it looks burnt.

  • Good answer. It's a plastic box so there won't be a hickey unless the installer put in a separate stud. EXTREMELY unlikely. Much more likely to be a cross bar, and HOPEFULLY it's not just screwed to the plastic box ears, but instead is screwed right through the back of the box and into the stud. Only one way to know. Great note that the big rose might just be held up by nothing but the canopy!
    – jay613
    Jan 14, 2022 at 19:58
  • 1
    @jay613: Agree. With a heavy chandelier and a plastic saddle box, I would not know what to expect, except not exemplary workmanship. That's why I included the advice about the rose possibly resting on the bezel. Jan 14, 2022 at 20:09
  • 2
    Staging is MUCH better than a ladder when renting to do this job safely and well.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 14, 2022 at 23:53
  • 1
    To save having to reach the ceiling at a later date, have whatever you want to cover the scar ready beforehand.
    – Peter Fox
    Jan 15, 2022 at 8:41
  1. Turn off the power to the light at the breaker box. Turning off the switch is not sufficient.
  2. Get yourself a couple of tall ladders, or even better, some scaffolding or a scissor lift to get you to ceiling height.
  3. Look at the "canopy" or "dome" that the chain attaches to. Somewhere, there will be a small screw or two or three that hold it on. Loosen or remove these screws until the rose comes off.
  4. Once the cover is off, you'll see what mechanism actually holds the weight of the chandelier.
  5. Support the weight of the chandelier on the scaffold/lift.
  6. Take a picture of all the wiring between the chandelier and the wires in the ceiling. Pull the wires out of the box, if necessary, to get a good, clear shot. This will be important when you reinstall or replace the light.
    • If all the wires from the ceiling or chandelier are the same color (possible if this is an old installation), put some different color electrical tape on each wire, then take the picture(s).
  7. Undo whatever screws or bolts are physically supporting the chandelier. You did remember to fully support the weight of the chandelier on the scaffold, right?

Congrats, you've removed it from the ceiling!

Now, screw wire nuts firmly on all the wires coming out of the ceiling so that you can safely turn the power back on at the breaker without tripping it or killing yourself. This will temporarily keep you safe until a the light is reinstalled/replaced.

If you're removing the fixture without replacing it, gently push the wires back into the box in the ceiling then put a blank cover plate on the box. The box must remain visible and accessible so long as there's the potential for power to get into the box. Feel free to paint the cover plate to match the ceiling color to make it less visible.

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