When replacing an old chandelier with a new ceiling, there was one red wire, two white wires tied together and two black wires tied together.

I had capped the red wire and tied in the remaining wires to their respective colors. When I had turned on the power, the light had turned on even though the dimmer switch had been turned off.

How do I correct this?

  • 3
    How was the previous chandelier wired? – BMitch Jul 1 '14 at 20:37
  • Likely the red was the switched hot, one black the line and one black hot to the switch. But as @BMitch says, let's hear from the OP. – bib Jul 1 '14 at 20:49

Most often the red wire in a lighting circuit is a switch leg. Very likely there is a black/white pair coming in from the panel, black/white/red going to the switch box, and then black/white continuing from the switch box to some other outlet.

If this is the case, the black is the hot wire from the panel and will be attached to one side of the switch, the red will be attached to the other side of the switch, and returns power to the light box when the switch is on.

Personally I would take things back apart and test it out with a meter to confirm, but you can also take off the switch cover and check which color wires are hooked up to it. If it follows the pattern I described, then moving the black wire of your new fixture over to the red wire in the box should solve the problem.


The answer in almost all cases where you're replacing an existing fixture, is to install the new fixture exactly as the old fixture was installed. When you take the existing fixture down, draw a diagram, label wires, take photos, do whatever it takes for you to be able to remember where each wire went. Then refer to your notes when you're installing the new fixture, and hook it up the same as the old fixture.

  • With the assumption that the original fixture was switching correctly, this is absolutely the way to go. Unfortunately, if you skip this step you are left with using a meter and/or some educated guesses to figure out which wire goes where. – Rozwel Jul 2 '14 at 13:33

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