How to Open a Cover Plate for a Fluorescent Light

Written by elizabeth knoll
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Fluorescent lighting is common in office buildings, basements and other locations where suspended ceilings are prevalent. The fixtures are typically 2-feet square or 2 by 4 feet. They conveniently sit right inside the ceiling grid. At the base of these lights you will find a cover plate. This cover plate protects the bulbs from damage and also diffuses the light so that it is not uncomfortable to look at. To access the interior of the fixture, you will need to open the cover plate on your fluorescent light.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ladder

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  1. 1

    Set up a ladder underneath the fluorescent light fixture. Climb up the ladder to reach the fixture.

  2. 2

    Locate the two hinge levers on the bottom of the fluorescent light fixture. They will be along one edge of the light, typically on the long side.

  3. 3

    Hold up the cover plate with one hand while you pull down on each of the hinge levers.

  4. 4

    Lower the cover plate slowly. It will hang down straight down from one side of the light. You can now access the interior of the light fixture.

Tips and warnings

  • Turn the light fixture off and allow it to cool for a few minutes before opening up the cover plate. Even though fluorescent fixtures put out a reduced amount of heat, the fixture can still get warm.

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