How to Replace Fluorescent Bulbs With LED Bulbs

Updated February 21, 2017

LED lights are more efficient and safer than typical fluorescent lights. LEDs do not contain toxic mercury chemicals, nor do they burn out as fast. The majority of LED lights are designed to fit inside the fluorescent tube housing, so installing them is fairly simple. Making the switch to LED will save money and energy for your home or building.

Ensure the light switch for the fixture you will be changing the lights in has been off for about 30 minutes. This is important in preventing any electrical shock when disconnecting the bulbs. It also helps in the lights being cool, as fluorescent lights may become hot when lit for a while. Remove the material shielding the bulbs. This shield may disconnect completely or hang from a hinge.

Disconnect the fluorescent bulbs from the fixture and either store them or dispose of them. Make sure they are disposed of properly--not in a local landfill, but through a proper recycling station. Be careful not to break the bulbs as this may cause injury. Open any windows to ventilate a room if the lights are broken to prevent mercury inhalation.

Locate the ballast fittings on the fixture and disconnect them from the light fixture, if necessary for the LEDs to fit. Some LEDs may be able to fit in the present ballast, but some may not. Refer to the manufacturer's directions to see if the ballast needs to be replaced.

Remove the wires, paying special attention to how they are situated so you know how to rewire the fixture when inserting the LEDs. You may need to use a screwdriver to remove the ballast fitting in order to reach the wires.

Strip an inch or so off of insulation from around the wires with a wire-stripping tool, carefully removing the insulation via a 45-degree angle. Twist the bare wire together and wrap it with electrical tape. You will need to connect the wires opposite of the ballast. Connect the wires just as they were before the ballast fittings were removed.

Place the LED lights in the fixtures like the fluorescent lights were fitted. Put one in each light fixture and screw it until the light fits snug. Place the cover back over the lights. Turn the light switch to the on position to test the lights. If they come on properly, then all the wiring is correctly connected.


Use caution around electrical wiring. Never insert the screwdriver into an electrical socket as this may cause electrocution.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • LED lights
  • Wire strippers
  • Electrical tape
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About the Author

Corey Morris has been writing since 2009. He has been a reporter for his campus newspaper, "The Rotunda" and is the publication's news editor. His work focuses on topics in news, politics and community events. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in political science and mass media from Longwood University in Farmville, Va.