Guide to Changing a Light Fitting in Australia | Fantastic Services Australia (2023)

Changing a light fitting is not a challenging task. However, it involves handling electrical wires. It’s obvious why this kind of activity can be dangerous – wires conduct electricity, which if not handled correctly, can be life-threatening. Because of that, the Australian government has implemented various laws and regulations against unlicensed electrical work.

Any activity that involves handling of electrical wires can get you in trouble unless you have the proper training and professional licence. This, in turn, begs a number of questions, which is why we’ve prepared this guide to shed some light on the process of light fitting installation in Australia.

Table of Contents:

  • Do you need an electrician to change a light fitting?
  • How much do electricians charge to install lights?
  • How a light fitting is usually changed
  • What to consider when hiring an electrician?
  • Takeaways

Keep reading to learn more about electrical safety during light fighting installation, the cost of installing lights and the electrician hourly rate in Australia.

Do you need an electrician to change a light fitting in Australia?

Yes, in most cases, you do need a professional electrician to change a light fitting. Depending on your particular situation, there might be something you can do. There’s more to light fittings than just wires. If you wonder what electrical work you can do without a licence, here’s a list of jobs you can do by yourself:

  • Replace light bulbs;
  • Swap LED downlights;
  • Replace light globes.

In other words, you can do any sort of DIY electrical work that doesn’t expose you to the risk of electrocution. However, if you need to do more than just change light bulbs, then you best hire a licensed tradesman. In addition to changing a light fitting, other common electrical problems you should hire a professional for include:

  • Attaching a new plug to the end of a lead;
  • Rewiring light switches;
  • Installing a ceiling fan.

These jobs might seem trivial, but don’t be deceived – the risks are real. Expert electricians understand those risks because they are educated about how electricity works. This is critical to carrying out repairs safely!

(Video) Shower Room Light Switch in Australia

Due to the constant electricity flow, cables and cords can develop cracks, cuts, or abrasions in their insulation, exposing the copper wire underneath. If your skin comes in contact with that wire, you will get shocked and possibly burned. What’s more is that electricity causes your muscles to contract, so if you were unlucky enough to hold that wire in your hand – you wouldn’t be able to let go.

On top of that, changing light fittings requires proper grounding. This is the process of returning electrical discharge straight to the earth plate. DIY electrical work can turn your body into the “wire” that electricity passes through to reach the ground. Tampering with the grounding process is easy when you’re unaware of how it works.

To stress the importance of this matter, the Australian government has issued laws stating that everyone, who performs electrical work, should hold an appropriate licence. You can check your hired electrician’s licence in the occupational public register.

Knowing the risks, you probably understand why electrical repairs are best left to those who are masters in the field.

Looking for licensed professional? Contact a Fantastic electrician today to solve all your light fitting problems!

(Video) Fibre to the home pre installation process – setting expectations

Contact us

How much do electricians charge to install lights?

With all the information about light fitting installation and replacement, you’re probably asking yourself, “How much do electricians charge to install lights?”. The average hourly rate for an electrician in Australia could range from $50 to $95, depending on how they price their work and some other factors, which we will describe in detail in this section, too.

First, let’s look into the different service charging methods. Some electricians charge a more significant call-out fee that covers the first hour and then ask for a smaller hourly fee for any extra time they spend. Others might set a fixed hourly rate (without an initial call-out charge) that is slightly higher than the average rate. A third option is to pay for the job altogether, regardless of how many hours it takes to complete. The price may not include the materials, but this should all be discussed with the electrician prior to the service.

Which pricing option you choose depends entirely on what you feel comfortable with. However, keep in mind that paying a fixed hourly rate with no call-out fee could sometimes cost you more, especially with shady electricians, who take their time to increase their pay.

Now, let’s take a closer look at what additional factors might affect the final price of changing light fittings. The cost of changing lights depends on many things:

  • The area you live in – Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra – the hourly rates for electricians vary since each region has different regulations and requirements for this type of job.
  • The type of light – pendant lights, downlights, overhead lights etc. Different types require different amounts of work. Some of those lights might be extra pricey, depending on their size.
  • The complexity of the task – working with older grids would require electricians to take extra steps to deliver your service. On top of that, if you’re asking to install a larger light in place of an older, smaller one – the electrician might need to do some wire repositioning that would take more of their time.
  • Indoor or outdoor lighting – installing outdoor lights usually costs extra. Working outside could require additional tools and lights, exposed to elements, are often in bad condition, due to being prone to more wear and tear.

The type of light fitting is one of the major factors. For example, pendant lights require a skilled touch and longer power cords to hang securely. The average cost of installing pendant lights is around $400 for a set of 3, while the cost to install one pendant light might range from $120 to $160.

Another good example of how much different lights cost to fit or replace is installing downlights – a kit costs between $15 and $25 for a standard light. While you can buy the lights yourself, you need a licensed electrician to install them on your ceiling initially. The cost of installing downlights can vary from $50 to $70 per light, but some electricians could charge as much as $110-120 if the job requires extra tools or your house’s internal electrical grid is old and faulty.

(Video) Defendant collapses in court after guilty verdict

How a light fitting is usually changed

The task to change a light fitting has several different steps. From inspection, through execution, to testing, the process is simple. Your technician will stop the electricity, take the old light fitting down and put the new one in its place. If you ask the experts how to change a light fitting, they will most likely describe the following steps:

  • Inspection – The first thing a technician does when they arrive at your place is inspect your current lighting.
  • Safety checks – After a few quick safety checks, the sparky will begin replacing your light fitting. The process will require them to see your power board and turn the power off. After that, the electrician will remove the cover of your light fitting (if there is one) and use their tools to take it down.
  • Adjustments – After inspecting your light fixture and the light outlet on your ceiling, the expert will usually make a few minor adjustments to the wiring ends.
  • New light fitting installation – Once the electrician makes sure the wires are all set, they will put the new light fitting in place and connect it to the wiring . If your new fixture is too large to hang or attach to the ceiling, the electrician will also put a mounting bracket in place.
  • Testing – The cover or light shade will be then installed over the light fitting and the electrician will turn the power back on to test that everything functions as it should.

If everything is working as intended, your technician will issue a certificate of compliance that you need to keep safe for up to 5 years. This certificate will serve as proof that your light fitting installation was done professionally by a licensed electrician and is up to the highest standards, in terms of safety. Keep in mind that sometimes, you might not receive this certificate right away – the period for issuing one for electrical repairs is up to 30 days after the job completion.

See also!: Air Conditioner Troubleshooting: Problems and Solutions

What to consider when hiring an electrician?

With so many electricians offering their services to the public, you are probably wondering about who to trust. Before you hire anybody to replace a light fitting, you need to think about what makes an electrician reliable. Here are a few things to look out for when hiring an electrician to replace your ceiling lights:


Without a licence to operate, electricians can’t perform any sort of electrical work on your premises. Check the expiry date and name on the licence to see if the technician’s name is the same as on their ID. Ask them to prove that all their papers are up-to-date since unlicensed work can cause problems for you.


Some technicians work freelance, while others join different companies. Always check how many people are working with the technician who comes to your house and, if he’s a part of a company, what reputation their company has in the field. A company’s size can often speak about how long it has been in business. Larger companies have more people because they’ve had the time to develop and expand the range of services they offer.

(Video) Here's Why You SHOULD NOT Buy The New 2023 Ford Ranger..

Professional habits

The difference between an experienced lighting expert and one who’s fresh out of college is simple – the seasoned pro has work habits. Those habits include always arriving on time and giving accurate information about their service. On top of that, an electrician, who knows what they’re doing, will generally complete the work within the timeframe they’ve said they need to do the job. Of course, delays could always happen, but the chance for that gets smaller as technicians gain more experience.

Feedback from other clients

The best type of recommendation is the one you get from friends and family, neighbours or other people you might know. A person, who you trust to recommend you with a service, will usually talk about their own experience in the matter. When you hear that a company has done an excellent job at something, make sure to take a note of this. It’s usually a better choice than those you only read about in paid ads.


This one’s a no-brainer. Always check for insurance – every technician you hire to change your light fitting should be fully insured to do so. This provides you with a backup plan if anything goes wrong along the way.


Everybody likes to hear a price before the service is carried out, not after. That way, you can account for the cost when calculating monthly expenses and fit the job in a convenient time for you. After all, you don’t want to break the bank over minor fixes, so why let them add up? Just ask for a quote – lots of companies, including Fantastic Services, give them at the cost of a quick online enquiry. Make sure to compare a few to get the best deal on your service.

Got an electrical problem that needs fixing? Hire a Fantastic professional to have a look at it!

(Video) How to - Checking and Replacing Trailer Wiring and Lights // Supercheap Auto

Learn More


  • Electrical work requires a licensed electrician.
  • You could do minor electrical jobs, like light bulb replacements on your own.
  • The price of a light fitting installation could vary.
  • Pendant lights and downlights are slightly more expensive to install.
  • Always compare quotes before you decide who to hire for the work at hand.

Disclaimer: We are a commercial home maintenance service provider. Our purpose with this blog is to provide valuable and accurate content for solely informational purposes. We strongly advise our readers to consider all the risks and health concerns before taking a DIY project. We also highly recommend you get fully informed about the laws and regulations regarding electrical, plumbing and other work in the different states of Australia.

  • Last update: January 22, 2022

Posted in All Articles, Home Improvement


Do you need an electrician to change a light fitting Australia? ›

You might be tempted to save money and tackle your light installation independently. However, this is not only dangerous, but it is illegal in Australia. While you can change a lightbulb on your own, anything that involves the handling of electrical wires requires licensed electricians.

Do I need a qualified electrician to change a light fitting? ›

The Short Answer. Yes, you should use an electrician when conducting electrical work in your home. Using an electrician for light fitting installations means that the highest level of electrical expertise is applied to fitting your light.

Do I need a certificate to change a light fitting? ›

Hope this helps. Just simply replacing a light fitting is not deemed to require a certificate whether it be a minor works certificate or an electrical installation certificate.

What are Australian standards light fittings? ›

The standard size of screw fitting is the E27 (27mm diameter). However there are other common sizes used on mains fittings in Australia such as the E14 also known as the Small Edison Screw (SES) often found in candle light bulbs in chandeliers and decorative table lamps.

Can I change my own light switch in Australia? ›

Always use a licensed electrician. Check your electrician is licensed by using our Electrical Licence Search – it's too risky using an unlicensed operator. Our electrical safety campaign: DDIY – Don't Do It Yourself, promotes the importance of hiring a licensed electrician.

Can I change a light fitting myself? ›

Yes, you really can do it.

Can I replace a light fixture myself? ›

If you're looking to install a new light fixture, we recommend hiring a licensed electrician. However, replacing an existing fixture is a project you can do yourself with just a few tools. You'll need: A voltage tester.

Is it safe to replace a light fixture yourself? ›

We do not recommend replacing a light fixture yourself if you do not have at least some understanding or expertise with domestic electrical installations, even with a handy guide like ours. If in doubt, get an expert to do the work for you.

What if an electrician does not provide certificate? ›

If they weren't registered, they will be unable to supply you with a certificate so you will need to contact your local authority building control who will advise you the next steps. If you do not have the correct certificate for major electrical work, you may find it difficult to sell your property.

Does an electrician have to provide a certificate? ›

The Electricity Regulation Act 1999, as amended, makes it mandatory for a Registered Electrical Contractor (REC) to issue a Completion Certificate for all electrical works (excluding minor works). If a REC carries out minor electrical works they must be certified if requested by the customer.

What are the Australian standards for residential lighting? ›

All homes must now comply with wattage allowances of: 5 watts per square metre inside the home. 4 watts per square metre on the exterior of the home such as verandas, alfrescos or balconies. 3 watts per square metre for garages.

What is the Australian standard for the design and operation of emergency lighting? ›

Emergency Lighting Requirement

Australian Standard AS/NZS 2293.1:2018 specifies a minimum light level of 0.2 lux with a minimum average of 0.5 lux at floor level under emergency lighting conditions. For stairwells, this should be a minimum of 1 lux.

What is the Australian standard for artificial lighting? ›

Building Code of Australia

The artificial lighting system must comply with AS/NZS 1680 during the times when areas are occupied.

Can you legally change a lightbulb in Australia? ›

There is no law in any part of Australia to stop an individual from changing a standard light bulb/globe. The fitting of a fixed wiring light fitting does need to be done by a licenced electrician though.

How do you rewire a lamp in Australia? ›

  1. Disconnect the Power. Pull plug out of wall socket. ...
  2. Remove the Bulb. Remove shade, unscrew bulb, and squeeze socket shell at switch to separate shell and cardboard insulator from socket cap. ...
  3. Remove the Socket. ...
  4. Cut the Power Cord. ...
  5. Remove the Insulation. ...
  6. Connect Wires to the Terminal. ...
  7. Attach the Insulator. ...
  8. Attach the Plug.

What Colour wire goes to L and N Australia? ›

The USA have their own wiring colours for electrical circuits, black, red, and blue are used for 208 VAC three-phase; brown, orange and yellow are used for 480 VAC.
International Wiring Colour Codes.
Earth (E)Green
Neutral (N)Black
Line 1 (L1)Red
Line 2 (L2)White
3 more columns

Can a non electrician change a light switch? ›

Do I need an electrician to replace a light switch? No. If you're replacing a broken light switch or a like-for-like one, it's a simple task that only requires you to know how to safely isolate the circuit and some basic tools.

Is it legal to do your own electrical work in Australia? ›

Did you know that it is illegal to do your own electrical, gas and plumbing work? Only licensed electricians, gas fitters and plumbers can do work on electrical, gas and plumbing appliances, or electrical, gas and plumbing installations.

Do Australian light switches have a neutral wire? ›

Do the switches require a Neutral Wire? iSwitch light switches and power points require power to stay connected to your wifi as well as iluminate the panel. As a result the switches require both a Neutral wire and Live wire.

What happens if you install a light fixture wrong? ›

But here's the catch: If you connect the circuit wires to the wrong terminals on an outlet, the outlet will still work, but the polarity will be backward. When this happens, a lamp, for example, will have its bulb socket sleeve energized rather than the little tab inside the socket.

How much does it cost to swap a light fixture? ›

How much does light fixture replacement cost? Light fixture replacement averages $65-$175 for labor. This will depend on the location of your light fixture and the type of replacement. The cost for the fixture itself can run anywhere from $20 for a simple option to $1,500 or more for a chandelier.

How do you remove old light fittings? ›

Use a screwdriver to loosen the two screws holding the plate to the mounting bracket in the ceiling. Gently twist the base of the light to free it from the screws and the mounting bracket. You may need to also unscrew the threaded post that runs through the base of the light into the mounting bracket.

Can I replace a light fixture without turning off the breaker? ›

Final Words on Changing Light Fixtures and Avoiding Electrical Dangers. There's nothing like a new light fixture, but rushing the process will only lead to more problems. You should always turn off the breaker to the light fixture and test that everything is safe with a voltage tester.

Are both wires hot on a light switch? ›

Yes. The switch should be on the hot, not the neutral, wire. It's a safety thing. A switch will work on the hot or the neutral, but if you switch the neutral, the light fixture is still electrically live even with the switch turned off.

How often should light fixtures be replaced? ›

Updating Your Lighting Fixtures

They are the visual bling. They set the tone for the home. If your fixtures are more than 10 years old, you should consider trading up.

Can I sell my house without an electrical certificate? ›

If you're missing an Electrical Installation Certificate, you technically can still sell your home. Nevertheless, there will likely be delays in the conveyancing process. The buyer could be advised by their solicitor not to continue with the purchase until the issue is resolved.

Do all electricians have to be registered? ›

There's nothing in law which states that your electrician needs to be NICEIC registered. However, just as you might not employ a builder without a CSCS card, you would think twice about hiring an electrician without NICEIC certification. How can I know my electrician is NICEIC registered?

How do I prove my electrician? ›

What Qualifications Does An Electrician Need? To qualify as an Electrician, you need to either complete an apprenticeship (3-4 years) or qualify with a Diploma / Technical Certificate, NVQ & AM2 (2-3 years). As with any skilled work, an electrician cannot simply set up shop and start doing jobs.

What is a basic light fitting called? ›

ES (Edison screw) light bulbs

Edison screw fittings are one of the most commonly used around the home. The main two types of ES bulbs are the E27, used in many household lamps, and the less common E14, AKA the SES (small Edison screw).

How do you change a 2d light fitting? ›

How to change a 2d lightbulb
  1. Make sure the light is switched off and cool. Remove the cover on the light. ...
  2. Hold the centre of the bulb unit, not the actual bulb, and pull it out of the fitting. Push the new bulb into the fitting.
  3. Replace the cover, depending on the type of light.

Can you self-certify electrical work? ›

Electrical contractors, who register with a competent person self-certification scheme, will be able to self-certify compliance with Part P of the Building Regulations whenever they carry out 'notifiable' work.

What level is a qualified electrician? ›

On completion of this four-year apprenticeship, you will become a fully qualified electrician, with a QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft – Electrical. You may then choose to either work as an electrician with a range of employers or work in a self-employed capacity.

Can an unregistered electrician issue a certificate? ›

Although they could rewire your house, an unregistered electrician is unable to self-certify their work and therefore won't be able to supply you with a Building Regulations (Part P) compliance certificate, which is required by law for all notifiable work.

Is NFPA used in Australia? ›

NFPA standards like 1983 are not binding in Australia but can be used as valuable reference points for rope access & rescue professionals.

What is the Australian Standard for electrical wiring? ›

AS/NZS 3000:2018, Electrical installations, known as the Wiring Rules, are the technical rules that help electricians design, construct and verify electrical installations.

Do lights need to be earthed Australia? ›

Western Australian electrical safety regulations require all lighting points to have earth protection using a conductor connected to the main earth of the building's electrical installation.

Do emergency lights need their own circuit Australia? ›

While emergency lighting doesn't need to be on all the time, the lights should have their own consistent power source in the event the main power goes out. Emergency lights in Australia should have their own self-contained power source which comes into effect if there's a power failure or emergency situation.

What Australian standard only relates to electrical installation testing and inspection guidelines? ›

The relevant Australian standards are: AS/NZS 3760 In service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment and RCDs, outlines inspection, testing and tagging methods.

What are OSHA requirements for emergency lighting? ›

Each exit sign must be illuminated to a surface value of at least five foot-candles (54 lux) by a reliable light source and be distinctive in color. Self-luminous or electroluminescent signs that have a minimum luminance surface value of at least . 06 footlamberts (0.21 cd/m2) are permitted.

What voltage are Australian lights? ›

Australian electricity runs on 220-240 V and 50 Hz.

Does Australia use ANSI or IEC? ›

Standards Australia is the National Member Body, and Australia's representative, at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

What is lighting voltage in Australia? ›

Since 2000, the nominal voltage in most areas of Australia has been 230 V, except for Western Australia and Queensland which both remain at 240 V, though Queensland is transitioning to 230 V.

Can I replace my own light fittings? ›

Do I need an electrician to change a light fixture? Typically no. If you already have an existing light fixture that works well, and you can reach it easily with a step stool or a ladder, then replacing it with a new fixture is a pretty easy wiring process.

Do you need an electrician to remove a light? ›

Do you need an electrician to change a ceiling light? Any work that requires working directly with electrics or your electrical supply should be tackled by a qualified professional.

What can a non qualified electrician do? ›

What Are DIYers And Non-qualified Handymen Permitted To Carry Out? Anything that includes replacement, minor repairs and like for like changes such as adding extra (or moving) switches, lights and plug sockets. Changing old or damaged electrical wires.

Do I need an electrician to replace a ceiling light fixture? ›

If you're looking to install a new light fixture, we recommend hiring a licensed electrician. However, replacing an existing fixture is a project you can do yourself with just a few tools. You'll need: A voltage tester.

What are the two types of light fittings? ›

Lamps are available in integrated LED and incandescent, and range from traditional to ultra-modern.

Can a handyman install a light switch? ›

Unless you have previous electrical experience, you should always hire a licensed electrician to complete any electrical work, including installing or replacing a light switch.

Can you get shocked changing a light fixture if the switch is off? ›

Even if the breaker is turned off, there's an off chance that some type of wire within the system is still generating electricity. Once the voltage tester reads that everything is safe, you should be good to proceed with installing the new light fixture.

What does L1 and L2 mean on a light switch? ›

The other terminal is marked as L1 and is the output to the light fixture. When you're wiring decorative light switches such as chrome or stainless steel etc, you'll find that the switch will also have an L2 terminal which means it's a two way switch.

How much does it cost to remove and replace a light fixture? ›

Light fixture replacement averages $65-$175 for labor. This will depend on the location of your light fixture and the type of replacement. The cost for the fixture itself can run anywhere from $20 for a simple option to $1,500 or more for a chandelier.

Can you do your own electrical work in Australia? ›

Did you know that it is illegal to do your own electrical, gas and plumbing work? Only licensed electricians, gas fitters and plumbers can do work on electrical, gas and plumbing appliances, or electrical, gas and plumbing installations.

What electrical work can I legally do myself? ›

Swapping out old or damaged wires, or moving sockets, ceiling lights, and light switches are all allowed, as well as installing additional switches, sockets, or lights in a room.

Can you legally rewire your own house? ›

Although it is possible to do the job yourself, we highly recommend that you get a licensed, qualified electrician to rewire your property, as it will need to be verified under all circumstances by an electrician anyway.


1. 2023 VOLVO XC40 RECHARGE ULTIMATE AUSTRALIA Range Test Review Charging
(Ludicrous Feed)
2. Master the Art of RV Maintenance: Tips and Tricks for a Smooth Ride (How To Guide) Ep 175
(The Feel Good Family - Lap Around Australia Series)
3. Install a Light Fitting - IKEA Hemma
(Learn As I Do)
4. The Awakening Summit!
5. IKEA METOD Kitchen Installation 1/7 - Preparing the room | IKEA Australia
(IKEA Australia)
6. Single Phase Electricity Explained - wiring diagram energy meter
(The Engineering Mindset)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Barbera Armstrong

Last Updated: 03/06/2023

Views: 5543

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Barbera Armstrong

Birthday: 1992-09-12

Address: Suite 993 99852 Daugherty Causeway, Ritchiehaven, VT 49630

Phone: +5026838435397

Job: National Engineer

Hobby: Listening to music, Board games, Photography, Ice skating, LARPing, Kite flying, Rugby

Introduction: My name is Barbera Armstrong, I am a lovely, delightful, cooperative, funny, enchanting, vivacious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.