How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Light Fixture?

Homeowners won’t want to ignore burning odors and flickering lights, and outdated lights are worth modernizing. The cost to replace a light fixture averages $199, or between $112 and $287.

By Brie Greenhalgh | Published Nov 28, 2023 3:27 PM

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Highlights

  • The typical cost range to replace a light fixture is from $112 to $287, with a national average cost of $199.
  • Some of the main factors that affect the cost to replace a light fixture include the type of fixture, the condition of the wiring, and the cost of labor.
  • There are several common signs that a light fixture needs to be replaced, including flickering lights, humming or buzzing noises, a burning smell, excessive heat, signs of damage, or a history of emitting electric shocks.
  • Although the average homeowner is more than capable of replacing a light bulb, light fixture replacement is a job best left to a professional—especially if the fixture shows signs of damage.
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Better lighting, more lighting, softer lighting, safe lighting. Whatever the need for a new light fixture is, homeowners have endless options for choosing new lighting throughout their home. A home renovation project offers the perfect opportunity for homeowners to upgrade to more energy-efficient lights or a more modern style of lighting, such as recessed lights. Upgrading a home’s lighting may mean it’s time to hang a fancy or sleek chandelier that makes a bold statement in an entryway or over a formal dining table. And sometimes it’s critical to replace a light fixture when the wires fail to connect properly and create potentially dangerous situations.

According to HomeAdvisor, the cost to replace a light fixture is usually $112 to $287, though most homeowners spend around $199 on average. These costs include labor and materials, whether the job is to repair or replace the light fixture. Depending on the type of light fixture, the wiring conditions, and the installation location, it’s possible for the average cost to reach $5,500 or more for fixtures such as chandeliers. Replacing light fixtures is an easy way to upgrade the ambiance or modernize the feel of a home, and the total cost will largely depend on the final outcome desired.

A man in a yellow shirt stands on a ladder to replace a light fixture.

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Factors in Calculating the Cost to Replace a Light Fixture

The average cost to replace a light fixture depends significantly on the light fixture type, the condition of the wiring, and local labor rates. Replacing simple canned or recessed lights will cost less than changing an outdated light for a more expensive chandelier. If the wiring needs to be replaced or repaired, an electrician will charge more to complete the job, since it will take longer.

Light Fixture Type

The type of light a homeowner chooses can be one of the biggest cost factors for light fixture replacement. There are several types of light fixtures for different spaces within the home, so it’s a good idea for homeowners to consult with a lighting professional at a local store to determine the best option for their needs.

Sometimes homeowners prefer to replace a standard light fixture with multiple recessed lights throughout the ceiling, which increases the cost for labor and materials. Chandeliers, pendant lights, and outdoor lighting are among the higher cost options. Replacement light fixture costs can range from $15 to $5,500, which includes anything from ceiling and pendant lights to wall-mounted and fluorescent lights.

Wiring Condition

Changing a light fixture can be as simple as swapping out the unit, but it often includes more tasks that can be time-consuming or potentially hazardous. If a homeowner is working on an older home that has worn, dangerous, or outdated wiring, it’s likely that additional electrical work is needed to ensure a safe light fixture replacement. In a worst-case scenario, homeowners may need to ask an electrician about the cost to replace an electrical panel if the current unit is not capable of handling the additional electrical load during a major renovation project.

Even with newer homes, it’s possible that additional wiring is needed when a homeowner chooses to replace fluorescent light fixtures with other options such as LED lights or multiple bathroom lights. In most cases, if wiring needs to be added or repaired, the labor cost to replace a light fixture will increase. For example, moving an existing light fixture can cost between $100 and $900 and largely depends on how far the light is moved and how much new wiring is required.

Labor

Homeowners may wonder “How much does an electrician cost?” On average, it costs $162 to $535 for an electrician to work on any residential electrical project, but this can vary depending on the type and complexity of the project. If it’s a simple light fixture replacement job and the homeowner prefers not to spend the time or effort themselves, hiring a professional from one of the best handyman services who knows how to replace a light fixture could be an option.

The average cost for an electrician to replace a light fixture is about $75. This accounts for their average rate of $50 to $100 per hour and the fact that most simple light fixture replacements take about an hour to complete. When the job includes additional lights and wiring or involves hanging a chandelier on a vaulted ceiling, it can take 4 or more hours at an average cost of $300 for labor alone. If more than one electrician is needed to help with a heavy chandelier, the project will cost more.

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Additional Costs and Considerations

In addition to the main cost factors for replacing light fixtures, homeowners will need to consider a few other elements that can play into the total cost for their specific project. Indoor and outdoor lighting replacement costs vary due to the types of lights and wiring needs. There could be additional wiring needs a homeowner didn’t expect, along with potential permit requirements for certain types of upgrades or additions. And sometimes finish work is needed to get the ceiling or wall looking its best again.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

Outdoor lights usually cost more than indoor lights, since they need to be weather-resistant. The cost to install outdoor lighting usually ranges from $2,000 to $6,000, while replacing outdoor lights usually costs between $20 and $1,000. Most electricians can replace outdoor light fixtures in 1 to 2 hours. The bulb itself will also cost more, since it must be manufactured to resist weathering, UV rays, and extreme temperatures.

Additional Electrical Work

There are a few components that could need attention when a light fixture is not working properly. Electricians will diagnose light switches, junction boxes, electrical panels, and as much wiring as possible to find the problem. When a light fixture works properly and replacement is more for cosmetic or energy efficiency reasons, these components may be inspected only briefly if a problem is suspected.

Type of Electrical ReplacementAverage Cost Range (Materials and Labor)
Dimmer switch$80 to $200
Electrical panel$850 to $1,700
Junction box$100 to $300
Light switch$50 to $250
Old wiring$7 to $10 per linear foot
Outlet$80 to $200


Permits

Most homeowners won’t need to worry about permits if they’re replacing a light fixture without doing additional electrical work. But if faulty or outdated wiring is discovered, then it’s likely that the local municipality will require a permit to replace the wiring. These permits usually cost $30 to $50, but if there are multiple electrical projects happening at one time, homeowners could spend as much as $350.

Finishes

Replacement shades for light fixtures are an easy option that homeowners can handle quickly, but if a light fixture needs to be moved or additional lights are needed, then the job becomes more complicated. Holes are cut into ceilings or walls, and holes may be left exposed after a light is moved. When this happens, additional finish costs are added to the total price. Homeowners can expect to pay $1 to $2 per foot to repaint a ceiling, in addition to the cost of $50 to $100 per square foot for drywall repair. These estimates include labor and materials, though the exact costs will depend on which of the best house painters a homeowner chooses (examples may include CertaPro Painters or 360º Painting).

Cost to Replace a Light Fixture by Type of Fixture

Cheap ceiling light fixtures cost less to replace than expensive chandeliers that could need additional structural support. So as homeowners plan for the cost to replace light fixtures, it’s important to understand the varying costs among fixture types.

Type of Light FixtureAverage Cost Range (Materials Only)
Bathroom light$70 to $300
Ceiling light$20 to $1,000
Chandelier$100 to $5,500
Fluorescent light$25 to $125
LED light$40 to $5,500
Outdoor light$20 to $1,000
Pendant light$15 to $4,500
Recessed light$20 to $300
Track lighting$25 to $420
Wall-mounted light$30 to $650


Bathroom

A bathroom light fixture typically costs an average of $185, plus about $75 for labor to switch it out. Some lights may be as cheap as $70 each, but the total replacement cost can increase if the electrician has to move the light’s position or add extra lights. Bathroom lights tend to be a little more expensive, since they are manufactured to be damp-rated and resist corrosion due to the excess moisture.

Ceiling

Many light fixtures are located on a ceiling, but in this case, ceiling lights are a specific type of light fixture. They’re the traditional light installed in the middle of a room and attached to the studs or joist. Many ceiling lights are combined with a fan to promote air flow without sacrificing illumination. Ceiling lights can be ornate or simple, and they may have exposed light bulbs or a shade to dim the intensity of light.

These could cost as little as $20 each or as much as $1,000 each. Including labor and parts, homeowners often spend about $510 to replace a ceiling light. The cost to replace a ceiling fan with a light fixture is typically a little higher, since the fan unit costs more than just a light.

Chandelier

While chandeliers bring a dramatic flair to a home’s interior, they also come at a higher cost to replace or repair. Small chandeliers with simple designs can cost as little as $100. Ornate chandeliers that are made from expensive or rare materials, are antique, or are oversize can average $5,500 or more. Both of these costs account only for the chandelier, so with labor added, many homeowners spend about $2,300 to replace a chandelier.

The heavier the chandelier, the more labor required. If the existing structure won’t support a new, heavier chandelier, then one or more electricians will have to install reinforcements to support the weight. Additional installers or safety equipment may be required if the chandelier is being hung from a high ceiling. These types of replacements can cost around $2,000 just for labor.

Fluorescent

Fluorescent lights are relatively inexpensive compared to other types of light fixtures. The average cost is $75, but the range is $25 to $125. When labor is included, replacement fluorescent lights cost about $75 to $425 to install. This is estimated on a simple exchange of light fixtures, so if additional wiring is needed, it could cost more.

An unique feature of fluorescent lights is the ballast. Sometimes all that’s needed to get the light working properly is to replace the ballast in a fluorescent light fixture rather than replacing the entire unit. This can usually be done in less than an hour, so the cost of a light fixture ballast replacement usually averages $75 to $150.

Because fluorescent light bulbs contain trace amounts of mercury, Energy.gov recommends disposing of them at a local hazardous waste recycling facility rather than throwing them in the trash with regular household waste.

LED

The rise of LED (light-emitting diode) lighting gives homeowners plenty of choices to liven up their spaces with a variety of lights and colors. Those choices come at a wide range of price points: $40 per unit to $5,500. Most homeowners opt for the lower-cost LED lights, as the more expensive styles are usually high tech and more advanced than most people need. If a replacement LED light requires new wiring, installing it can take up to 4 hours per fixture, though most replacements take about an hour. The average cost to replace an LED light, including labor, ranges from $50 to $400.

Outdoor

Most outdoor lights cost more than indoor lights. This is largely because outdoor lights are designed to withstand temperature fluctuations and function in any type of weather. A single outdoor light fixture averages $510, though some are much cheaper at $20 each. Most electricians can switch a faulty outdoor light fixture with a new one in 1 to 2 hours, so the final cost is usually between $70 to $1,200 per fixture.

Pendant

Installing pendant lights is a great way to upgrade the lighting aesthetics of a space on almost any budget. The average cost per fixture is $15 to $4,500, and most homeowners spend $75 to $150 to replace a single pendant light fixture. Changing one ceiling light to a set of pendant lights will cost much more, since holes for the new lights will need to be cut and extra wiring added. If the pendant light is oversize, replacement could cost as much as a chandelier replacement, since the joist or stud may need to be reinforced.

Recessed

A popular style of light for many homes is recessed lights, or canned lights. These lights are inserted flush with the ceiling, usually in sets or grids to add sufficient light over a certain area. Canned lights come in a variety of styles, including LED and traditional light bulbs. If the replacement recessed light is the same style as the existing light, an electrician can quickly change it out for an average cost of $125 for labor. If the new light fixture is a different style, however, or additional lights are being installed, then recessed lighting installation costs will increase. The average cost is $70 to $700 per fixture for labor and materials.

Track

Some homeowners prefer track lighting in kitchens, dining rooms, or studios. These lights are available with individual lights that can be adjusted on the track or that come in different styles and bulbs to suit the homeowner’s design preference. Installing a replacement track lighting fixture costs $350 on average for parts and labor, while the individual units can cost between $25 and $420.

Wall-Mounted

Accent lights and feature lights make up most types of wall-mounted light fixtures. They are often found in bedrooms and hallways and are sometimes called sconces. Wall-mounted lights can cost between $30 and $650 per unit, but with labor added, the cost to replace one averages $80 to $850. This cost will vary depending on whether additional wiring is required.

A close up of two hands fixing wiring in a ceiling.

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Do I need to replace my light fixture?

A common question homeowners may have is whether their light fixture needs to be replaced or whether there is a problem just with the light bulb. The easy fix is to swap out the light bulb to see if that resolves the issue. However, there are several distinct situations that indicate the problem lies in the light fixture or accompanying wiring.

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Flickering Lights

Sometimes a flickering light is caused by a bulb that’s not sitting tightly in the base. If tightening the bulb does not resolve the flickering, then the likely culprit is loose wiring. An electrician can inspect the wiring and ensure everything is properly connected and working safely.

Humming or Buzzing Noises

An electrical current pushes energy through the circuit without sound—unless there’s a damaged wire or poor connection. If humming or buzzing sounds are heard near a light fixture or light switch, a live wire has come loose. Live wires have electricity running through them and can shock a person if they’re touched while the current is active. It’s important to repair or replace any units that have live wires exposed as soon as possible.

Burning Smell

Sometimes a live wire has poor contact with the unit or switch. When the light is turned on for a period of time, the wire rubs against the unit, other wires, or nearby wood. The heat from the electrical charge causes a light fixture to char and smolder dangerously. This could potentially cause a fire, so it’s critical for homeowners to turn off the light and call an electrician as soon as possible if a burning smell is identified.

Excessive Heat

Another potentially dangerous situation is when a light fixture, light switch, or outlet puts off excessive heat. Sometimes it’s noticed as a room that’s always warmer than others while the light is on and there’s no other possible cause for the heat in the room. This is another situation where a faulty wire is causing a problem with the electrical circuits and needs to be addressed before it becomes a danger.

Signs of Damage

Any obvious signs of damage to a light fixture, such as fraying, cracking, or nicking, will indicate the need to replace it. It can be difficult to know whether any wiring was dislodged or damaged when the fixture was damaged, so to avoid any charring or excessive heat problems, it’s best to get it replaced quickly.

Electric Shocks

Static electricity can build up for a number of reasons, but if the light fixture emits an electrical shock when touched, it’s a good idea to call an electrician. Electrical shocks on light fixtures are usually caused by a wire that’s pushing too much power to the unit. Turning off the fixture until it can be replaced is the safest course of action.

Replacing a Light Fixture: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

Replacing light bulbs is a common homeowner task—though perhaps less common with fewer incandescent bulbs on the market. However, most homeowners are unfamiliar with exactly how their light fixtures work safely. That’s why they often wonder how to install a light fixture and discover it’s a little trickier than expected.

Homeowners with electrical experience can opt to DIY this project. According to Dan Mock, vice president of operations at Mister Sparky, “In most cases, you can change a light switch without the help of an electrician. As with any electrical work, turn off the power before starting the replacement process. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take proper safety precautions.”

Christopher Haas, expert electrician and owner at Haas & Sons Electric in Millersville, Maryland, agrees: “Most homeowners can replace lighting fixtures themselves,” he says. “In most situations, you will have a black, white, and ground wire to deal with. The ceiling mounts are all round and of standard size.”

Electrical work is a skill that requires training and sometimes licensing. So while a very simple light fixture replacement could be accomplished by an experienced DIYer, most light fixture replacements are best done by a qualified electrician. Homeowners can search “How to hire an electrician near me” to find local companies.

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Electricians have the experience and know-how to safely remove damaged fixtures, check for faulty wiring, identify poor circuit breaker connections, and ensure that sufficient structural support is in place. They’re also the best option if a homeowner is looking to completely change the style of lighting or add lights to a room. Increasing the wiring in a home may require a permit, and an electrician will know how to obtain the proper paperwork.

There are also certain circumstances in which even an experienced DIYer will want to call a professional to replace a light fixture. As Haas explains, “If you take the light down from the ceiling and the wiring looks burnt, stop. Call an electrician to remediate the burnt wiring.”

“If you look at the wiring in the electrical box and are not certain you understand what you’re looking at, call in the reinforcements,” Haas continues. “Do not untwist the wires in the electrical box; call an electrician to take on this project for you; separating those wires can lead to parts of the home without power. If you have an older home, pre-1978, consider calling an electrician to do this. Wiring in these older homes can be made of aluminum (1965-1977), copper-clad aluminum, BX, knob and tube, tin-plated, soldered connections, and brittle. A simple light replacement can sometimes turn into more than that with having to use special wire connectors, repairing burnt/ brittle wiring, and replacing damaged electrical boxes.”

A man reaches up to replace a light fixture.

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How to Save Money on the Cost to Replace a Light Fixture

The cost to replace a light fixture can be hard to estimate, since there are so many types of lights and installation options. Costs can quickly add up, especially during major renovation projects. Still, there are a few ways to try to save money when replacing a light fixture.

  • Request multiple quotes. An essential tip for finding the right electrician at the right price is to ask for quotes from multiple companies. The cheapest option might not always be the best, but homeowners will need to feel confident in the quality and value they choose.
  • Consider hiring a handyman. For less complex jobs, a handyman might be a good solution. As long as they have plenty of experience with light installation, they may be able to do the job at a lower price point than an electrician.
  • Shop sales. It’s well known that light fixtures can be expensive, so planning ahead and waiting to buy them during a holiday or seasonal sale can yield discounts.
  • Opt for dimmer switches. While this option may cost a little more up front, a dimmer switch can save on energy costs in the long run.
  • Ask about repairs. Sometimes a light fixture doesn’t need to be replaced and repairs are a viable option. But if the cost of the repair ends up being nearly as much as replacement, then it could be worth getting a new light installed.
  • DIY the finish work. Savvy DIYers who know how to do small repairs in drywall or painting can save some money by doing the finish work themselves.

Questions to Ask About Replacing a Light Fixture

How exactly electricity works is often a mystery to homeowners. But that doesn’t mean they can’t know the right questions to ask as they prepare to hire an electrician to replace their light fixtures.

  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have references you can share?
  • What kind of training and certifications do you have?
  • Have you worked with this type of light fixture before?
  • How much does it cost to install a light fixture?
  • What precautions do you take when finding the source of damaged wiring?
  • Do I have to replace the light fixture, or can it be repaired?
  • Do you have access to discounts for lighting fixtures?
  • Will you subcontract this job?
  • Will the job require more than one person? If so, how much more will that cost?
  • Do I need a permit to replace my light fixtures?
  • How long will the job take?
  • Do you provide a line item estimate?
  • Are there any hidden fees, such as travel fees or fuel surcharges?
  • Who is responsible for any finish work required to patch the hole after a light is moved?
  • How much will the job cost if I take on the finish work myself?
  • Do you warranty or guarantee your work?
  • What if I have any issues with the light after installation?

FAQs

Whether it’s time to replace a light fixture for design reasons or problems with the wiring, homeowners don’t have to feel confused about the process. Qualified electricians can help answer many questions homeowners have about wiring and installation, but here are a few additional questions and answers about what to expect.

Q. Does the age of my house affect the cost of light fixture replacement?

Yes, it can. If the house is older and has not been updated to new wiring, then the cost to replace light fixtures will increase. It’s even possible that the electrical panel will need to be updated.

Q. Can you run a second light fixture from the same switch?

Sometimes, yes. This depends on the switch and its current wiring. Newer homes can often handle the addition of a second fixture to an existing switch, but if not, then additional wiring and a new switch will need to be installed.

Q. How long does it take to change a light fixture?

It depends on the type of light and the potential need for any wiring updates, though 1 to 3 hours is average. A standard ceiling light that’s replaced by a similar unit could take about an hour. If a ceiling light is being switched to multiple recessed lights, it could take several hours to complete the installation.The same would be true for hanging a heavy chandelier from a vaulted ceiling. The more complicated the job, the longer it will take.

Sources: HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide

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