How to Daisy Chain Lights

Four Parts:Preparation for Adding Recessed LightsBefore Doing Any Electrical WorkTo Install Additional Recessed Lights

Creating a daisy chain of lights is a process of stringing the wiring between a series of lights to power them. By connecting colored wires appropriately, recessed or track lighting fixtures can be wired together. All the lights are then activated through a single switch, provided the circuit can handle the total wattage of the lights. Try these steps to daisy chain lights.

Part 1
Preparation for Adding Recessed Lights

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    Find out the maximum wattage your recessed light fixtures can individually consume. This may differ from the wattage of the light bulb in the fixture.
    • If you are not sure of the fixture maximum wattage, use 100 watts per fixture as an estimate.
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    Determine whether the total wattage of new and existing lights will overload their shared circuit. If using a dimmer switch to control your lights, for example, most of these switches can handle up to 600 watts. If you have a total of 7 light fixtures that each consume 100 watts, then the dimmer switch could be overloaded.
    • To prevent overloading a circuit, you may need to upgrade the control switch to a higher wattage. Ask a licensed, professional electrician to install the new switch for you. You can also consider dividing the additional lights among additional circuits.

Part 2
Before Doing Any Electrical Work

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    Turn off the power to the circuit(s) for the existing fixture(s) you will be working on. Do this by shutting off the circuit breaker(s) that sends power to the fixture(s).
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    Test that the power to the circuit is off using an electrical tester. If possible, lock the service panel (breaker box) to prevent someone else from turning the circuit back on while you work.

Part 3
To Install Additional Recessed Lights

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    Mark the location of each new fixture opening on the ceiling. Use the manufacturer's template to do this. Drill a 1/4-inch (0.63 cm) hole into the ceiling at the center of each new opening.
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    Check above the ceiling for any obstructions.
    • If an attic is above the ceiling, simply look for obstructions in the attic.
    • If a second story or other finished area is above the ceiling, poke a coat hanger through the drilled holes for any possible obstructions.
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    Cut holes to fit the new recessed lights in the ceiling with a drywall saw.
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    Disconnect an existing recessed light fixture from its nearby junction box. Extend wiring from the junction box to the first new recessed light. Let about 18 inches (45 cm) of electrical wiring hang from the ceiling.
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    Pull electrical wire to each new light fixture and leave 18 inches (45 cm) of excess wire hanging from the ceiling. The extra wire will provide slack when connecting the new lights.
    • Run the wire from the attic if this is above the ceiling of recessed lights.
    • Drill through joists with a long, flexible drill bit if a finished floor is above the ceiling. Fish the electrical wiring through the framing.
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    Connect the existing light fixture to its junction box and the wire going to the next recessed light. Match up black (hot) wires to each other, white (neutral) wires to each other, and ground (bare or green insulated) wires to each other.
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    Use wire connectors to cap wire connections. Continue connecting matching wires to daisy chain the lights until finished.
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    Mount the recessed light cans and trim components according to the manufacturer's instructions.
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    Screw in light bulbs to the new lights.

Part 4

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    Remove an existing track lighting fixture. It should be connected to a junction box or electrical box along the lighting system path.
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    Examine the wiring behind the removed fixture. Black (hot) and white (neutral) wires are generally involved in connecting the track lights.
    • Make note of any connections in wiring that appears more complex or involves other colored wires besides black and white.
    • Sketch how a light fixture is wired. Designate the wires by color in the sketch.
    • Alternatively, label wires with masking tape and a pencil to know how to reconnect them later.
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    Connect a black wire from an existing light to a new black wire for the next light. Add a plastic wire connector to join the connection between the two wires.
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    Continue connecting the black wire from one light to the next until finished adding lights or until you reach the maximum wattage of the circuit switch.
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    Connect and join white wires from the existing light to the new lights as for the black wires.
    • In some track lighting systems, you may need to screw the black and white wires to terminals on the track connector. Screw the black wire to a terminal that has a brass-colored screw. Screw the white wire to a terminal with a silver screw.
    • If you will have multiple wires going into screw terminal connections, attach pigtail leads to the terminals. The pigtails are short wires that connect to terminals on switches or receptacles. Twist wire connectors onto the electrical wires to attach them to the pigtails.
    • Connect any ground wires, which are bare or green insulated wires, in new track lighting fixtures to any existing ground wires. Connect the new fixture grounding wires to grounding screws in metal electrical boxes if such boxes support the fixtures.


  • Check with local authorities to see if you need a permit before beginning your electrical wiring.
  • Wear safety goggles and a dust mask when drilling or sawing.
  • After doing your wiring, have your work checked by a building inspector or licensed electrician.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • New recessed or track lights
  • Manufacturer's instructions
  • Maximum wattage of each recessed light fixture
  • Light switch capable of handling total wattage
  • Licensed electrician
  • Circuit breaker box
  • Electrical tester
  • Electric drill/driver
  • Drill bits
  • Coat hanger
  • Drywall saw
  • Electrical wires
  • Light bulbs

Article Info

Categories: Pages Needing Attention | Lighting and Light Switches