Replacing a Fluorescent Light Fixture

Let there be a new light with these step-by-step instructions.

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Replacing a fluorescent light fixture doesn’t require an electrician. Just follow these steps.

Materials and Tools:

medium and large flat-head screwdrivers
circuit tester
needle-nose pliers to bend and shape wires
drill and bit
tape measure
wire nuts
toggle bolts or wood screws
safety glasses


Remove existing light fixture

1. Turn off power at circuit-breaker box.

2. Remove lens or diffuser panel from light.

3. Remove lamps or bulbs.

4. Remove ballast cover. Observe how wires are connected for future reference.

5. Uncap black and white wires and test to ensure that power is off.

6. Separate wires from existing fixture.

7. Remove fixture base from ceiling.

Install new fixture

1. Remove ballast cover from new fixture base.

2. Remove center knock-out to allow wires to go through the base.

3. Position the base of the fixture at the desired point on the ceiling.

4. Use the tape measure to ensure that the base is parallel to the wall, and then mark the position of the mounting holes.

5. Wearing safety glasses, take the fixture back down and, using marks for reference, drill holes for fastening the fixture to the ceiling. If you encounter resistance when drilling past the ceiling drywall, a joist is present and wood screws are required. If no joist is available, use toggle bolts. If toggle bolts are required, use a screwdriver to widen the mounting hole enough to allow the toggle bolt to pass through.

6. Place bolts in mounting holes and attach toggles on the back side.

7. Push toggles through mounting holes and secure by screwing into place.

8. Make electrical connections by connecting the black supply wire to the black fixture wire and the white supply wire to the white fixture wire. Cap the connections with wire nuts, and attach the ground (bare) wire to the base of the fixture.

9. Attach the ballast cover.

10. Install lamps or bulbs.

11. Install fixture cover.

12. Turn power back on at circuit-breaker box.

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