How to Use a Hickey Fitting When Hanging a Chandelier

November 23, 2021 by No Comments

A hickey fitting, a simple metal piece that connects two sizes of threaded nuts to an electrical box, is what you need. A hickey is used to install a chandelier or any other type of hanging light fixture. This allows for secure mounting and supports the fixture’s weight before you make the wire connections.

A Hickey is a must-have

Mounting a standard ceiling fixture requires that the mounting screws are inserted into the small holes in the overhead electrical box. Drop light fixtures such as a chandelier are supported by a threaded nickel, a short length of metal tubing with threads at both ends. The female-threaded opening of the ceiling box mounting strap has one end that threads into the other. The base of the light fixture has the opposite.

The threaded openings can be different in size. For example, the 3/8-inch opening for the ceiling box mounting strap is larger than the 5/16-inch mounting hole for the chandelier. You can make this transition using a hickey. The top of the hickey goes onto the 3/8 inch nipple attached to the ceiling box. The 5/16 inch nipple for the chandelier is threaded onto a lower threaded hole on the hickey. There are many sizes and combinations of hickeys. This is particularly helpful if the chandelier you are looking for does not include all its hanging parts.


Some heavy-duty hickeys are equipped with small set screws to ensure secure connections between the electrical box and light fixture. After determining the correct height/length, tighten these set screws. After the set screws are tightened, adjustments can often be difficult.

Where can I buy a hickey?

Specialty lighting shops carry mounting kits and individual parts for all lamps, including hickeys in various sizes. Make sure to bring the correct part. Hickeys can be purchased at hardware stores and home centers, but it’s more common to find a fixture mounting kit that includes all the parts necessary for mounting a drop-light fixture. Most kits include mounting straps with screws and a hickey fitting. Sometimes, there are short threaded nipples.

Why do Hickeys Have Holes?

Hickeys are equipped with holes that allow for the routing of chandelier wires. Because they are hollow like pipes, nipples can do the same. The wire leads of the light fixture can be threaded through nipples or hickeys and connected to circuit wires using wire nuts.

Install a fixture by first attaching the upper end of the nipple to the mounting strap (or box opening) on the ceiling box. Next, attach the hickey to the upper end of the nipple. Now, you are ready to mount the fixture. The fixture nipple can be used to attach the fixture to your hickey. The ceiling box supports the fixture’s weight so your hands can be free to connect the wires. Connect the fixture wires to the circuit wires inside the ceiling box by running them through the nipples or hickey.

Supporting Heavy Fixtures

The ceiling box must be strong enough to support the weight of a heavy ceiling fixture. The ceiling drywall may support a standard ceiling box that is rated at 35 pounds. This ceiling box is not strong enough to support a heavy-hanging fixture.

You can replace a regular box with a heavy-duty box made of heavier metal than the fixture. There are two types of these boxes: fully adjustable units that can be reached through the ceiling and adjustable bars units that can be used for ceilings with attic access. Mount the box to your ceiling framing with mounting bars (sold along with heavy-duty ceiling boxes) or solid-lumber blocking between the ceiling joists.

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