How to Add a Pull Switch to a Ceiling Light

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Things You'll Need

  • Pull-chain switch

  • Screwdriver

  • Drill

  • 3/8-inch drill bit

  • Pliers

  • Twist-on wire connector

You can fit your ceiling light with a pull-chain switch.

If you read in bed before going to sleep and don't want to keep getting up to turn a light on the ceiling on and off, it is easy to add a pull chain to the fixture. Doing so requires you to remove the fixture, drill a hole to screw on a pull switch and wire the black wires through the switch. You won't need many tools, and it will probably take you less than an hour to complete the project.


Step 1

Turn off the power to the light switch at the circuit breaker.

Step 2

Take the light fixture off of the ceiling, remove the wire connectors from the wires and untwist the wires.

Step 3

Unscrew the bulb from the fixture and pull the bulb socket free. Remove the top of the socket where the wires enter either by unscrewing a screw or by pulling off the top of the socket, depending on the design of your fixture.

Step 4

Determine where the pull-switch will fit inside the socket and drill a hole large enough for the nut attachment of the switch to fit through. Pass the chain through the hole and tighten the switch to the socket with the nut provided.


Step 5

Pass both black wires of the switch through the hole. Replace the top of the socket, either pushing or screwing it into place.

Step 6

Twist one of the black wires from the switch with the black wire from the light fixture and the other with the black wire from the house wiring. Twist the white wires together as they were before. Twist all wires clockwise and cap each connection. Twist the ground wires together as they were before.

Step 7

Screw the light fixture back into place on the electrical box and restore power to the switch.


Some bulb sockets may not have room for a pull switch. If this is the case, you can buy a pull-switch socket that simply screws into the old socket.


Make sure the electrical box is firmly attached to the ceiling, preferably to a ceiling rafter, and can withstand the force of the chain being pulled.



Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at