How to Remove a Can Light Housing

Are you wanting to upgrade your home lighting without having to hire a professional electrician? Removing an existing can light housing yourself is not only possible, it’s easy when you know what steps to take.

How to Remove a Can Light Housing

In this blog post, we’ll go through the step-by-step process of how to remove a can light housing so that you will be able to make those stunning lighting upgrades in no time! Keep reading for everything you need to know about removing and replacing your own can lights.

What is Can Light Housing?

Can light housings, also known as recessed lights or downlights, are fixtures that are installed into the ceiling. The fixture is encased inside a housing box and directs light downward from the sides of the opening in the ceiling. Can lights come in all types of finishes and styles to suit any design need. If you are looking to update your lighting, learning how to remove a can light housing is the first step.

Needed Tools and Materials

Given below are the essential tools you will need to remove a can light housing:

  • Recessed Lighting Trim Kit 
  • Screwdriver 
  • Stepladder 
  • Ladder Stabilizer (if Necessary)
  • Electrical Tape 
  • Wire Separator/cutter (Optional) 

11 Step-by-step Guides on How to Remove a Can Light Housing

Step 1: Shut Off the Power

Make sure that all lights in the area are out and no electricity is running to the box before you start working on it. This can be done by either turning off the breaker or unscrewing the light bulb and unplugging it from the outlet.

If you are unsure of which switch to turn off, it is always best to shut off the power from the main breaker. Otherwise, you run the risk of electric shock. It is also important to make sure that no one else turns the power back on while you are working.

Off the Power From the Main Breaker

Step 2: Remove Trim Kit

Now, use a Phillips head screwdriver to detach the trim kit that covers the housing unit and take it away. You will see a ring attached to four metal wings that are screwed into the ceiling near where you removed the trim kit from. Always be careful when working with metal parts as they can be sharp. But don’t worry if you happen to cut yourself; the wound is unlikely to be serious. It is important to keep the trim kit in a safe place for when you reattach it later.

Step 3: Disconnect Wire Connections

You will have to disconnect the wire connections if there are any in order to remove of can light housing easily. Carefully separate wires with a wire separator/cutter if required, or you can also twist them counterclockwise for loosening. It is also necessary to wrap the exposed wires with electrical tape for safety. But if you want to keep the existing wires connected, be sure to note which color wire is attached to which terminal.

Step 4: Loosen the Bracket Screws

Using your screwdriver, loosen the screws attached to the metal wings of the bracket. This will release it from its place in the ceiling. It is important to make sure that all screws are loosened evenly in order to avoid damaging the bracket or the ceiling. It may be necessary to use a stepladder and ladder stabilizer when loosening the screws as this will provide stability. This will also make it easier to access the screws.

Step 5: Pull Out Can Light Housing

Now, carefully pull out the can light housing by using a stepladder and inserting your hand into the ceiling opening where you removed the trim kit earlier. If necessary, use a ladder stabilizer for added stability while working on upper portions of ceilings.

But make sure that you are careful and do not pull too hard, as the housing may be stuck. If this happens, you may need to loosen the screws slightly more in order to pull it out. This can be done with the screwdriver.

Step 6: Check All Connections Twice

Before removing any wires or electrical tape, double-check all connections inside the box to make sure that nothing is loose or disconnected. Then proceed to disconnecting them; keep in mind that the ground wire will be the one attached to the green screw. It is important to check all connections twice as this will ensure the safety of both yourself and your home.

Step 7: Unscrew Connections

Now, unscrew any remaining connections between the can light housing and the ceiling box, then pull out all wires from inside the box. Once this is done, you may proceed to remove it from the opening.

Unscrew Any Remaining Connections

But it is important to keep in mind that the box and housing will be heavy, so always use caution while removing it. However, if it is too heavy to lift out yourself, enlist a friend or family member to help you. It is also a good idea to have a bucket or similar container handy for storing the can light housing until it is ready to be replaced.

Step 8: Clear Out Can Light Housing

Now that can light housing has been removed from its place in the ceiling, you can clear out any debris or dust from inside with a vacuum cleaner before installing a new trim kit and recessed light.

It is important to make sure that the area is completely cleared out before proceeding with the installation. This will ensure that your new light fixture is safe and secure. This is also a good time to check that no wiring or insulation has been damaged during the removal process.

Step 9: Install New Fixture

Now it’s time to install your new fixture! To do this, start by screwing the new trim kit into place and then connect all wires to the fixture. It’s best to use electrical tape for extra safety. If you’re unsure of how to connect the wires, consult a professional electrician for help. Once the wiring is done, proceed to attaching the can light housing back into the ceiling box. Make sure that all screws are secure before flipping the switch or plugging the cord in.

Step 10: Secure Can Light Housing

Once everything is connected, place the housing back into its opening in the ceiling and securely attach it with screws so that it won’t move around when you flick on the light switch. You can then proceed to attach the trim kit and check that all wiring is connected properly. It is important to make sure that no wires are exposed or the trim kit is not loose.

Step 11: Test the Fixture and Enjoy!

After making sure that all connections are safely in place, turn on the power to test your new fixture and make sure it works properly. You can now enjoy your updated lighting! Always be careful when dealing with electrical components and remember to consult a professional electrician if you have any questions or concerns.

Congratulations – you have now successfully removed an existing can light housing so that you can upgrade your home lighting without the help of a professional electrician. With this knowledge, you will be able to make stunning lighting upgrades in no time!

You Can Upgrade Your Home Lighting

We hope that this blog post has been helpful in teaching you how to remove a can of light housing safely and easily. If you have any questions or need additional guidance, please contact an experienced electrician for advice.

Do You Need to Use Professionals?

While it is possible to remove a can of light housing yourself, it is important to note that this type of work should always be done by a professional electrician who is experienced and certified in handling electrical wiring. Professional electricians are able to ensure the safety of you and your home while also ensuring that the job is completed correctly the first time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Tools Do I Need to Remove a Can Light Housing? 

A: You will need a recessed lighting trim kit, screwdriver, stepladder, ladder stabilizer (if necessary), electrical tape, and a wire separator/cutter (optional).

Q: Is It Safe to Remove a Can Light Housing?

A: Removing an existing can light housing yourself is safe as long as you follow the steps carefully and have all of the necessary safety equipment in place. However, it is best to contact a professional electrician for advice before beginning any work on electrical wiring.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Remove a Can Light Housing? 

A: Depending on your experience level and how much debris needs to be cleared from inside, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more to remove a can of light housing.

Q: Are There Any Tips for Installing a New Can Light? 

A: Make sure that you read all instructions carefully before beginning any work. It is also important to have the necessary safety equipment in place, such as a stepladder and ladder stabilizer. Additionally, always shut off the power to the room before starting. Finally, tape up any loose wires and double-check connections before putting in the new fixture.

 Important to Have the Necessary Safety Equipment

We hope this blog post has helped you understand how to remove a can light housing easily and safely. If you need additional help or advice, be sure to contact an experienced electrician who can assist with your project! Good luck!


Now you have the confidence and knowledge to remove a Can light safely and properly. This guide has helped you understand the steps for successful removal. Have in mind that safety is an essential element when dealing with any electrical work. Remember to never touch or replace live wires, or anything containing a voltage higher than 12 volts!

Finally on how to remove a can light housing, remember to secure your home from curious little hands with safety locks on cabinets and drawers. Taking basic protective measures against accidents results in a more peaceful way of living.

By using this guide to install the necessary safety locks on your cabinets and drawers you can ensure the protection of your family and guarantee peace of mind for yourself. Take action now and start making your house even safer!

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Jennifer Branett

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