How To Move a Chandelier
Chandeliers can range from £100 to £33,000. While there are definitely more affordable options available on the market – you cannot deny how pricey they are. Gold versus stainless steel? Crystal versus glass? Vintage versus modern? There is such a wide variety. If you have a beautiful chandelier – why leave it behind when you relocate?
Not every home appreciates good light fixtures. If you love the charm and character it adds – take it with you! It doesn’t matter how far your new place is. When you properly pack it for your move, your chandelier can make the same cross-country trip.
Here are the steps you need to take to move your chandelier with you:
Take Down Your Chandelier
As tempting as it sounds, you cannot box up a mounted chandelier. You need to take it down piece by piece. It is not the most DIY-friendly task, so remember to work with a partner.
What You’ll Need
Here are the tools and materials you need to safely remove your chandelier:
- Ladder (2)
- Screwdriver/ adjustable spanner
- Circuit tester
- Extra pair of hands – preferably a licensed electrician
When you have everything you need on hand, you can start taking down your chandelier.
How To Detach Your Chandelier
Prep Your Space
Go to the breaker and disconnect the electricity. If you aren’t sure what part takes care of the lights – simply disconnect everything else. You don’t want to find yourself electrocuted while removing your chandelier.
Set up your ladder and set it at a comfortable height. There is no fixed range. The goal is to be able to remove any dangling crystal or pendant without struggling.
Spread a thick blanket around the ladder and try to cover as much of the floor as you can. The thick blanket can help cushion the fall of small crystals and pendants.
Take Photos Of Your Set-Up
If you have an elaborate chandelier, you need to remember what goes where. Don’t rely on the instructions/ manual. There is a good chance it is in the rubbish anyway.
Instead, use a camera to take photos. Remember to get them at different angles. You can also take down important notes to help with the set up in the future.
Test For A Live Current
Remove one light bulb and use the non-contact tip of your circuit tester to see if there is a live current. If there is none, you can proceed. If there is a live current, you probably forgot to disconnect it from the breaker. Take care of that before doing anything else.
Remember to turn off the light switch as well, just in case someone else in the home connects it again. (It happens).
Remove The Light Bulbs And Crystals
Remove the different elements of the chandelier. This step varies from the design and model you have on hand. If you have a simple model, all you have to do is take out the one lightbulb. However, if you have a vintage crystal chandelier – you need to take your time removing it piece by piece.
It is a two-person job. You need to unhook each crystal and label the section it came from for easy installation in your new home. Have one person remove it from the chandelier, and another to keep track.
Tip: Have a large table nearby, but not directly under the chandelier. There you can lay down the different pendants, crystals, and lightbulbs. Having them laid out makes it easier to clean and categorise.
Remove The Chandelier
With all the light bulbs and pendants removed, inspect the base of your chandelier. Mounting techniques vary, so you will have to adjust. Most of the time the base is screwed into the mounting strap.
Take your adjustable spanner and remove the nuts at the base of your chandelier. Again, this is a two-person job. Have one hold the chandelier, while the other unscrew the base. Make sure the person holding the fixture keeps it high, dropping it only damages the wires. You want the deposit back, right? Keep the chandelier up until it is fully disconnected.
Remove The Wires
Wire nuts connect the chandelier wires to the circuit box wires. If you have never seen them before, they look like a screw-on toothpaste cap. Removing the wire nuts depends on the model. You can simply release the wires with a modern wire nut. However, if you have an older one, you either need to wiggle the wire out or cut them off. When the chandelier wires are disconnected, you can bring the rest of the fixture down.
Tip: Remember that the electricity has to be disconnected for this step! It is incredibly dangerous. If you are unsure, you can always hire a licensed electrician to help you.
Give It A Thorough Clean
With the chandelier properly disconnected, you might as well take the opportunity to clean it. Chandeliers accumulate a lot of dust and grime. When you leave it like that, it can affect the overall lustre and shine when it is in use.
What You’ll Need
Here are the tools you need to clean your chandelier properly:
- Cleaning solution
- Rubber gloves
- Lint-free cloth
Note: There are different types of cleaning solutions you can use, like 1:1 water and vinegar solution, 1:4 rubbing alcohol and water solution, or plain dishwashing liquid. Never use ammonia-based cleaners for your chandeliers!
How To Clean Your Chandelier
Decide How You Want To Proceed
There are 2 ways you can clean your chandelier. You either have to clean your crystal one by one or submerge everything in water and a cleaning solution. Both will give you the same results. It is just a matter of preference.
Mix Your Cleaning Solution
Create your preferred cleaning solution. Both recipes work for the whole chandelier. But if you want to be more specific about it, use the rubbing alcohol and water mixture for the crystals and metal pieces and the water and vinegar mixture for the lightbulb.
If you are going to clean it piece by piece, have your cleaning solution in a spray bottle. Spritz a bit and rub with your lint-free cloth. Make sure it is dry to the touch then lay it down on some tissue. Remember each piece should have its own square. It should never touch. Wipe the lightbulbs next and do the same.
If you are going to wash everything in a basin or sink, mix your cleaning solution in the water and use a sponge. Only wet the crystals and pendants! Do not do the same for the chandelier arm or lightbulbs. For the latter two, just wipe it with a lint-free cloth. Leave the pieces out to dry, or manually dry them.
It is a lot of work, but the difference is visible!
Pack It Properly
When everything is dry, it’s time to get packing. Most chandeliers are very fragile, so you need to be very careful with this step.
What You’ll Need
Here are the materials you need to ensure your chandelier doesn’t get damaged during the trip:
- Old newspapers
- Bubble wrap
- Extra pair of hands
How To Pack Your Chandelier
Wrap Each Individual Piece
To make sure it doesn’t break or develop scratches during the move, wrap each piece. The crystals and pendants should be wrapped in tissue first then with old newspaper. You can label them as you go along for easy identification.
Wrap the arms and base with an old newspaper and make sure it is tight. You don’t want the newspaper to unravel during the trip. Secure it well with tape
Put your light bulbs in a small box packed with newspaper or bubble wrap. Remember, the goal is that it doesn’t move around during the trip.
Roll your wires and secure it with tape.
Pack Everything In a Box
You can either use an old box or buy one from a packaging store. If you are using an old box, fortify it with a bit of tape. You don’t want the bottom to give way when you are moving.
The entire box has to be packed with newspaper or packing peanuts. Put the arms and base first then add the more fragile items on top. Seal the box with tape and label it as “fragile”.
Check out our other packing tips here: Packing Tips For Moving.
When you are done packing your chandelier leave it to the movers! You can hire a professional man and van team to pick it up and drop it off. They know exactly what to do with fragile boxes, and your chandelier is sure to arrive at your new home in one piece.
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