How to Install Fluorescent Lighting in a Garage

Incandescent lighting fixtures are usually inadequate in the garage-they just don't emit enough light to use in a room that typically lacks windows. The best solution is to replace your incandescent lights with fluorescent fixtures that provide more light while using less energy.

Shut off the power at the circuit breaker for your garage. Make sure to let everyone in the house know not to turn it back on.

Remove the bulb of your old lighting fixture.

Remove the screws that hold your old lighting fixture in place.

Use a circuit tester to make sure the power is off and there is no residual power in the wires.

Remove all the wires from the terminals.

Remove the old lighting fixture from the ceiling.

Decide where you want to install your new fluorescent light.

Use pliers to remove the knockout between the location of your new light and the wires you will attach to it.

Insert a piece of plastic bushing in the knockout hole you just made-this will protect the insulation of the wires you will thread through the hole.

Insert the wires into and through the plastic bushing.

Position your new light in the place you want to put it then mark the mounting holes.

Use a stud finder to find out if there are any joists above the ceiling in the location where you will mount the light.

Mount the fixture onto the ceiling. Use wood screws if you are attaching the fixture to joists, otherwise use toggle bolts.

Attach the ground wire to the green screw on the body of the lighting fixture. The ground wire is either green or bare with no insulation.

Attach the remaining wires-connect white to white and black to black. Use wire nuts to secure the connections.

Insert your fluorescent bulbs.

Attach the cover of the lighting fixture.

Turn on the power to check your work.


Fluorescent lights operate less effectively in cold temperatures. Buy cold-weather bulbs if you live in an area where the temperature regularly falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.


Make sure you use the correct tools for this job to ensure you comply with building codes. Only use lightbulbs and fixtures that are rated for exterior use. Consult a professional electrician if you are uncertain about any stage of the installation or if you experience any problems while installing the fixture.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic bushing
  • Exterior-rated fluorescent light fixture and bulbs
  • Pliers
  • Wood screws
  • Toggle bolts
  • Wire strippers
  • Circuit tester
  • Wire nuts
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
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