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How to Install Fluorescent Light Fixtures

If you are looking to install some fluorescent fixtures it is really an easy process but you need to know a few things in order to do it successfully. The first thing you should do every time you are working with electricity is to shut off the power at the box, just because the light you are working on is off doesn’t mean there is not juice running to it. Obviously the fist thing that needs to be done is to remove the old fixture. The first thing when removing the old fixture is to remove the screws or in most cases you just have to loosen them because the fixture probably has the mounting holes set up in such a way the you don’t need to remove them all the way. If you do need to remove them all the way, don’t worry about it, it’s not a big deal. There are literally thousands of different fixtures out there and I have yet to see two that were exactly the same. The next thing you need to do is disconnect the wires. If the fixture’s leads are attached to house wires with plastic wire nuts, unscrew them, and pull the wires apart. The lead is simply the wire that came attached to the fixture, it’s what will be connected to the wires coming out of the wall or ceiling. If the leads are spliced with tape simply cut the house wires as close to the splice as possible. That’s it for removing the fixture, be careful when removing the leads from the house wires because the wires are most likely the only thing holding up the fixture, if you’re not careful the fixture could come crashing down on your face.

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Now you are ready to hang the new fixture. The first thing you need to do with fluorescent fixtures is to remove the cover from the canopy to expose the fixture wiring. Sometimes with fluorescent fixtures you need to make some connections inside the fixture, just follow the instructions of the manufacturer. If you are putting up long fixtures you also need to locate the studs in the ceiling because the support of the electrical box probably is not enough to hold it up, you will need to screw in some additional screws into the ceiling. After you have located the studs and made all appropriate connections inside the fixture you are ready to start wiring and installing. First you need to remove a knockout in the fixture canopy, then guide the house wires through the knockout hole and position the fixture canopy against the ceiling so it covers up the outlet box. Next you will be fastening the fixture to the ceiling, now there are two ways of doing this depending on the direction of your instillation. If you are mounting the fixture so it crosses ceiling joists simply screw in the fixture to those joists and you should have plenty of support. If you are installing the fixture parallel to the joists you are limited to using toggle bolts and using the drywall as your support. Simply drill holes for the appropriate size toggles, put up the fixture and put the toggles through, this should support your fixture.

The final part of instillation will be to make the connection. First you need to splice the fixture leads to the house wires, white to white and black to black. If there is a bare house wire or one with green housing this is the ground wire, you need to locate the fixtures green grounding screw and wrap the green wire around it and tighten. Most fixtures these days will have a grounding screw and it is a good idea to use it. Once you have made the connections you should use electrical nuts and screw them on to each connection. For added protection you can then wrap them with electrical tape. The tape is not necessary but I like to use it just for one more safety precaution. Next fold the wires against the canopy, and re attach the cover, then install the fluorescent tubes.

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You are done, it’s really pretty easy and doesn’t take much to figure it out. The main problem I usually have is mounting the fixture to the ceiling, I like attaching it to joists but sometimes that’s just not an option. Once you have that part down you will have smooth sailing from there. Good luck.