D-I-Y: How to Mount a Fluorescent Fixture
Fluorescent fixtures come in several shapes and sizes. Most warehouse or industrial applications use large rectangles, while residential fixture shapes include rectangular, square and round in a variety of sizes.
These fixtures provide an easy solution to bring plentiful, energy-efficient light into kitchens, bathrooms, workshops and garages. Residential fluorescent light fixtures usually feature a plastic diffuser that softens and more evenly disperses the light while shielding the fluorescent tubes. Large, industrial style fixtures for workshops and garages use aluminum reflectors and leave the tubes exposed to emit more light. Fortunately, installation is essentially the same for either type, and it's relatively simple.
Drill and screwdriver
1. If you will be connecting the light fixture's wires to your building's wires, be sure to turn off the power at the circuit breaker before you begin.
2. Use a stud finder to locate a ceiling stud approximately where you plan to mount your fluorescent fixture. Fluorescent light fixtures tend to be rather heavy; if you cannot locate a stud, the fixture should be mounted into the ceiling using toggle bolts. Do not use wall anchors, as they are intended for horizontal applications and are likely to pull out of the ceiling if used. Mark the desired area where the screws will be installed.
3. If your light fixture includes a diffuser, remove it. Follow the light's wiring instructions. If it is a plug-in model, plug it directly into an outlet without using an extension cord. If hard wiring the fixture, match wire colors from your electrical source to the wires on the fixture (white to white, etc.). If your fixture features access covers where the screws pass through, open these now.
4. If your fixture is designated as hanging only, do not mount it flush with the ceiling. Use a small-link chain to suspend the fixture from screw-in hooks or eyelets. Otherwise, hold the fixture against the ceiling in the designated mounting location. Drill your holes into the ceiling and the studs or, if using toggle bolts, just through the ceiling.
5. Screw the fixture to the ceiling. Close any access covers over the screws.
6. Install your fluorescent light bulbs and replace the light diffuser cover if the fixture uses one.