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How to Install Fluorescent Lights

Installing a fluorescent light is a simple procedure with dramatic results.

To mount a typical fluorescent ceiling fixture, first use a stud finder to find ceiling joists. If none are available where you wish to hang the fixture, you can use toggle bolts to anchor it in the drywall. Either way, make sure your drill and hardware are accessible. Shut off the power to the circuit before doing any work on the fixture.

1First, remove the cover and make any connections within the fixture, as specified by the manufacturer. Use wire nuts for splices. You may also need to add pigtails and a grounding jumper to bridge the gaps between internal fixture wires and the point where cable enters the fixture.

2Open up a knockout in the fixture canopy, and then feed incoming wires through the hole. This fixture is mounted directly below a ceiling box; if your fixture is not, plan to secure cable to a smaller knockout with a metal cable clamp.

3If possible, drive screws through the fixture canopy and into the ceiling joists. If the joists do not align with the fixture, secure the fixture to the ceiling material with toggle bolts.

4Splice the fixture’s black lead to the circuit’s black hot wire and the white fixture lead to the incoming white neutral wire. If there is a green circuit grounding wire, wrap it about the fixture’s grounding screw. Secure it by tightening the screw.

5Finally, slip the ends of the fluorescent tubes into the tube holders, and then add the diffusing panel atop the tubes. Like this one, most diffusing panels simply snap into place. Restore power, and test out your new light.

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About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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