1. Light fixture Undercabinet lights are available in fluorescent, halogen, and xenon models. We chose low-voltage halogen for its bright white light (see "10: Choosing the Light"). Measure upper wall cabinets to determine what length fixtures to buy—23 inches and 47 inches are typical sizes. You can gang them together for long runs. 2. Dimmer switch needs to be compatible with the light fixture you choose. 3. GFCI receptacle Once installed, this outlet’s ground-fault circuit interrupter will shut off instantaneously if you receive a jolt. 4. Two-gang, old-work electrical box This larger box replaces the existing single-gang receptacle box in the backsplash wall. An "old work" box is for remodeling—its "fins" unfold behind the drywall to lock it in place. 5. Two-gang wall plate 6. 12/2 NM (nonmetallic) electrical cable plastic-sheathed cable often referred to as Romex, a trade name. The 12/2 designation refers to its two 12-gauge copper wires—a neutral and a hot. It also holds a bare ground wire. You’ll need 6 feet of cable, including loose wires you’ll cut from this for Step #6. 7. Ground pigtail connector; cable connector; wire connectors 8. Wood or plastic cable protector may be required by some municipalities to protect exposed cable. Make from wood or buy as "nonmetallic raceway" in 5-foot lengths.
Tools You Will Need:
1. Flat pry bar, to remove the old electrical box
2. Phillips and slotted screwdrivers
3. Drywall saw, to cut the hold for a new electrical box
4. 1/2-inch spade bit, to bore a hole in the wall for a new cable
5. Wire strippers, to remove insulation from wires
6. Lineman's pliers, to cut and twist together wires
7. Drill/driver, to drive screws and bore holes
There's a missing element in most American kitchens, and it's not a $7,500 range or a 4-acre refrigerator. No, it's simply good lighting. And a well-lit kitchen begins with undercabinet task lighting. These hidden fixtures, which are fairly easy to retrofit beneath upper wall cabinets, bathe the countertop in bright white light—a boon for everything from dicing veggies to reading recipes. Connect the fixtures to a dimmer switch, as shown here, and you also have the key to dramatic accent lighting or a night light for midnight snackers. If you're a bit tentative about working with electricity, don't worry. This installation is simple and shock-free, as long as you cut the juice at the breaker box first.