Pre-Chandelier Cleaning Check List 1
Judging by the questions and orders that are coming in, many of you are being quite productive during this trying time at home and are cleaning your chandeliers and sconces.
Before you begin cleaning, however, there are a few safe guards you should take.
- Most importantly, if you can, make sure that the screw loop in your ceiling connection is tight. These can loosen over the years, particularly if the chandelier is turned for cleaning and bulb changing. Turn to the right to tighten (righty tighty, lefty loosey).
- Turn off the fixture - many of us have scars to prove how hot incandescent light bulbs can get.
- Place a padding of some type on the surface beneath the chandelier. (Moving quilts or comforters work great. If they are on the floor, take care to spread them out well and don't trip.) It will protect that surface and offer a measure of protection to whatever is falling. You may end up with only one damaged prism, but sometimes that old prism is no longer available for purchase.
- Verify that the bottom of your chandelier and the connecting ball are securely in place. If you decide to remove the bottom of the chandelier, read this first. This process is a little bit tricky, so be careful!
- Practice ladder safety...the spreaders should be firmly secure and the ladder feet should be flat on your floor. If you move your ladder once you have started cleaning, make sure to remove tools or items from the shelf and top.
How and Where Should You Store a Chandelier 0
The logistics of storing a crystal chandelier are, well, complicated.
Let's tackle the hows first.
Some folks opt for storing a chandelier, intact, hanging in a crate or from a bar of some type in an out of way place. This isn't a bad method as long as you have the room, and everyone knows not to touch. The chandelier should be covered to keep as much dust as possible off of the fixture. Of course, once it is covered no one will know the fragility of the contents underneath, so a CAUTION sign may be a good idea. We don't recommend moving a crystal chandelier in a crate, but for stationary storage, it works well.
We frequently recommend storing crystal chandeliers as if they were packed for moving. That is, each arm taken out of the main stem and wrapped with paper or bubble wrap for cushioning. Crystal trimmings should be wrapped in tissue paper and labeled carefully. Including a diagram of where the crystal belongs on the fixture is a must!
Once everything is wrapped, place the piece in a strong cardboard box with cushioning between the pieces. You want to make sure that pieces can't knock against each other.
Where to store it?
We don't like attics..temperatures are too extreme in attics, at least in most parts of the country. The heat isn't good for the electrical wiring and the candle covers. Garages are better unless your climate is really extreme.
A more climate controlled area is best - somewhere inside the home is ideal. But, of course, the best place to store a chandelier is hanging from your ceiling where everyone can enjoy it.
Lowering Your Crystal Chandelier 0
A common dilemma...how do I lower my chandelier?
Maybe you have moved to a home with higher ceilings, or maybe you just think your chandelier should be lower... but either way, you want to add chain to your chandelier so that it hangs closer to the table or floor. How do you do this?
Most importantly, is there enough wire (lamp and ground) on the fixture to accommodate the new length? If not, you will have to change the entire electrical wire from the ceiling box through the stem to where the center wire connects to the arm wires. You will also need to replace the ground wire.
Safety dictates that the wire has to be whole or connected within the proper wire nuts, and because most folks don't want colorful wire nuts visible, we recommend changing the entire length. You can purchase wire here.
Cut the power to the chandelier! To get to the wire connections, you can unscrew the bottom of your chandelier, separate the center wire from the arm wires, pull the old center wire and then replace that center wire with a new one. It should thread through the center pipe easily. Make sure you are using an appropriate wire. The new center wire must connect to the arm wires.
Once you have solved the wire issue, you can turn your attention to adding chain. Either match your existing chain and add in what you need to get the chandelier to the proper height, or replace all the chain with something new.
Make sure you are using an appropriate chain gauge. Using proper tools, such as chain spreaders, makes your job easier. Using care and strength, and cutting the power to your fixture, you can change the wire and chain on a modest sized chandelier without taking the chandelier all the way down.
Keep in mind that these instructions are specific to our crystal chandeliers. If you have one of our Tier models or Victorian models, we can talk you through how to change the wire in those.
How to Move a Crystal Chandelier AKA How to Dismantle & Pack a Crystal Chandelier 0
You would think "How to Move a Crystal Chandelier" and "How to Dismantle & Pack a Crystal Chandelier" would be two different topics... but they are not! Ask any chandelier restoration expert and they will agree that the best way to move a chandelier is to dismantle it and pack it.
We believe with our whole heart that if you are removing a crystal-armed chandelier from one location and transporting it to another location, it should be taken apart and packed. I know - I hear you say that if you crate it properly, it will be fine. But, it might not be and why take the chance?
If a chandelier hangs within a crate, it can bang around in that crate. If it is secured so that it can't swing, pressure is placed on those tension points. Either scenario can shatter the crystal pieces. And, if you have had it happen, you know how hard it is to match a broken chandelier arm.
We ship thousands of our chandeliers, and we always ship them with the arms removed from the main fixture, wrapped, and packed withing packing pellets. We also carefully wrap then hanging crystal so that these pieces don't touch one another.
Below is the method that we recommend. These instructions will work with many crystal chandeliers made within the last 70 years or so. If your chandelier is an antique, or you think it is exceptionally valuable, please consult a professional.
- Take photos and make diagrams of where all the crystal pendants and strands hang. Don't rely on original instructions.
- Lay out your tissue paper on a table, then carefully place your prisms/pendants on the tissue paper so that they do not touch. Fold the paper with the pendants inside the folds - you will have to be the judge of how many per sheet of paper to use, but you don't want the final result to be so heavy or large that the crystals tear through the paper. Tape and label. For example: Prisms for Top.
- For strands, use the same method as above, making sure that the strands do not tangle. Once the crystals have all been removed, you can work with the chandelier without all the crystals banging against each other.
- Make sure the power to your fixture off!
- Remove the bottom of the chandelier to get to the nuts that are holding the arms onto the fixture. You can see instructions on how to remove the bottom of our chandeliers here and here. Wrap the bottom in bubble wrap.
- Disconnect the wiring from the arms. While holding the outer, heavy part of the arm, unscrew the nut on the underside of the plate that is holding the arm and lift the arm out of the plate. Remove the light bulb and wrap the arm carefully in bubble wrap. Do this for all of the arms.
- Disconnect the chandelier from the ceiling and remove the stem of the chandelier from the chain. Wrap the stem well in bubble wrap.
- Don't forget to remove your chain, canopy, screw loop and cross bar. You will want to take this with you as it might be original to the chandelier.
- In the bottom of a box large enough for the arms, make sure you have some good cushioning material: layered bubble wrap or packing peanuts. Carefully lay the arms in making sure that there is cushion between each and around each arm. Arrange them so that the heavy parts (candle cups and bobeches) are not on top of one another.
- We pack the bottom and crystals in a separate box from the arms.
- Either place the stem in a box or transport it securely without a box.
- If possible, transport the boxes yourself instead of relying on the moving company. They won't treat it as lovingly as you will.
This all may sound a bit time-consuming, but I promise that this method of packing your chandelier will take less time than trying to find matches to broken components of your chandelier!
We will concede that if your chandelier is very small - say 18" wide, you can probably move it without taking it apart. But, we do recommend taking the crystals off so that they don't bang against each other and chip. Don't pack the frame in a box - keep it where you can see it. Simply place it in the seat of your car and place the seat belt around it. And, make sure not to crack it by hitting it on the door frame on the way in and out of the car.
Whatever you do, do it carefully!
How to keep your chandelier from falling out of the ceiling! 3
Can you imagine coming home to this? Or waking up to the sound of this happening? If not horrifying, then it is downright disconcerting. It doesn't happen often, and with the following information, it should never happen to you.
What are some of the best practices for keeping your chandelier safely in the ceiling?
1. Always ensure that your mounting location can support the weight of your chandelier. Is your electrical box properly mounted and secure within your ceiling?
2. The cross bar, pipe, and screw collar of your mounting hardware should be a tight fit, with a locknut fitted against both the cross bar and the screw collar.
3. The above mentioned cross bar should be securely mounted within your electrical box with the long screws that were included with the box.
Those 3 steps are what holds your chandelier in the ceiling, so always make sure that they are performed carefully, correctly, and securely.
4. Never (ever) spin a chandelier on its chain. Actually, don't even turn it. This sounds logical, but believe it or not, it is the number one reason for fallen chandelier. A chandelier revolving on a chain is very mesmerizing - until it unscrews from the ceiling and falls onto your table. The locknuts are designed to help prevent this from occurring, but they need a little help from you. Best practice - you move around the chandelier doing what needs to be done instead of moving it to you.
5. Make sure that the top loop on the chandelier itself is secure and tight. This loop that attaches to the chain is the one thing that is holding your fixture.
6. Finally, make sure that you are using the proper chain weight. Heavy, solid chain that is split on the side (never on the bottom) is the best choice.
Each time you have your chandelier cleaned, the screw loop connection and the top loop on the chandelier should be checked. Are they tight against the locknuts?
By following the above practices, you and your chandelier should have a long, healthy life together!
Reply to comment on 5/31/2018: I'm so sorry that happened to you! If the pipe came down with the screw loop, the pipe will need to be screwed back into the cross bar and make sure to use nuts to lock it in place. If the pipe didn't come down, then the screw loop must be screwed into the pipe. Again, make sure to use nuts. The proper way to accomplish all of this is to disconnect the wires and start the installation from scratch. Good luck! -Nancy
Reply to comment on 7/28/2018 - I sent you a private message. Let me know if you need further information. - Nancy