D-I-Y: How to Connect a Fluorescent Light Fixture
Installing fluorescent light fixtures is an inexpensive way to make a dark or dim space bright and cheery. These light fixtures offer great energy efficiency, low heat and a wide spread of lighting. Connecting a fluorescent light fixture is a straightforward process, with relatively few steps, simple tools, and just a small amount of time. Wiring your fluorescent fixture follows the same basic steps as most electrical fixtures.
1. Be safe – turn off the appropriate power switch at the circuit breaker. Test the circuit using an electrical tester to ensure the power is off. Clear the installation area of any old fixtures or hardware.
2. Using a stud finder, locate the studs to which you will mount your fluorescent light fixture. Identify the stud location with pencil marks spaced identically to the mounting holes in your fluorescent light fixture. If you cannot find a stud, you will need to use toggle bolts.
3. If your fixture has wiring knockouts, carefully open these with a screwdriver. Feed the existing ceiling wiring through the fixture's hole. If your light fixture includes a green (or bare) grounding wire and your existing ceiling wiring does not, you must firmly connect your own grounding wire to the metal ceiling electrical box or metal conduit. Make sure you mount the wire using proper mounting eyelets and a screw or bolt for a tight, reliable connection.
4. Place the light fixture against the ceiling and line up its mounting holes with your pencil marks. Drill appropriate length screws through the fixture's hood and into the studs. If you are using toggle bolts, drill the toggle bolt manufacturer's indicated hole size into the ceiling (NOT the fixture). You may need to remove the bolt from the toggle to pass through the fixture's mounting hole, then reconnect the toggle. Insert the toggle bolt through the ceiling hole, and tighten with a screwdriver or drill.
5. Twist the ends of the black ceiling wire to the black fixture wire. Cap off the ends using UL-approved plastic wire nuts. Do the same with the white wires.
6. If your fixture is equipped with a green (or bare) grounding wire, connect it to the existing ground wire from the ceiling wiring and make sure the connection is tight. Attach any reflector or diffusers that came with your fixture.
8. Restore power from the circuit breaker and turn on the light.