How to Install Undercabinet Lighting and Power

Posted by in Home Improvement Tips, on October 28, 2016

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Electrician Scott Caron helps a homeowner upgrade her kitchen with new LED lights and electrical outlets. (See below for the shopping list, tools, and steps.)

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Shopping List for How to Install Undercabinet Lighting and Power:
– LED undercabinet light fixtures
– Outlet strips, to provide undercabinet electrical outlets
– Old-work electrical boxes, to house wires and wall switch
– Nonmetallic electrical cable, for powering new lights and outlet strips
– Blank plate, to conceal wires in junction box
– Electrical tape, to secure cable to fish tape
– Twist-on wire connectors, for securing wire connections
– Dimmer wall switch, to power new lights and outlet strip

Tools for How to Install Undercabinet Lighting and Power:
– Jigsaw, for cutting through cabinet back
– Drywall saw, to cut through drywall
– Screwdriver, for tightening screws
– Torpedo level, to mark level and plumb cutlines
– Pliers, for gripping and twisting
– Cordless drill, to drive screws
– Fish tape, for pulling cable through walls
– Wire strippers, used to strip off wire insulation

Steps for How to Install Undercabinet Lighting and Power:
1. Go to the main electrical panel and turn off the power to the existing undercabinet lights and outlets.
2. Unscrew the old light fixtures from the underside of the cabinets.
3. Use a jigsaw to cut a hole in the cabinet back for an old-work junction box.
4. Cut a similar hole in the wall directly above the cabinets.
5. Push two nonmetallic electrical cables through the upper hole and down into the hole cut inside the cabinet.
6. Cut a hole in the kitchen wall for an old-work switch box, then use a fish tape to pull a cable into the hole.
7. Push the ends of the cables through the rear of the switch box, then screw the box to the kitchen wall.
8. Wire a dimmer switch into the box; be sure the switch is designed for use with LED lights.
9. Make the wire connections in the junction box inside the cabinet. Screw a blank cover onto the junction box.
10. Make the wire connections inside the light fixtures, then screw the fixtures to the underside of the cabinets.
11. Run a new cable to the wall beneath the cabinets, then install the 120-volt outlet strips.
12. Make the final wire connections at the outlet strips and test your work.

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