How to Install a Fluorescent Light in a Ceiling

Written by elizabeth knoll
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How to Install a Fluorescent Light in a Ceiling
(Hemera Technologies/ Images)

If you are looking for a high-quality, low-cost light to install in your dropped ceiling, consider using a fluorescent light fixture. They come in 2-by-2-foot and 2-by-4-foot sizes. Fluorescent light fixtures install quickly into a ceiling grid because they just lay in the grid with a few support wires running from them up to the ceiling joists.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • S-hooks
  • Chain
  • Bolt cutter
  • Hanging hooks
  • Drill
  • Electrical wiring
  • Electrical connectors
  • Wire cutter/stripper
  • Wire nuts
  • Fluorescent light bulbs

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  1. 1

    Turn the power circuit off that will control the light. This will prevent you from receiving a dangerous electrical shock.

  2. 2

    Measure the distance from the ceiling grid to the ceiling joists above. Cut four lengths of chain at this measurement.

  3. 3

    Insert a "S-hook" in each mounting hole on the fluorescent light fixture. There should be one mounting hole per corner of the light.

  4. 4

    Screw in a hanging hook to the ceiling joist directly above where each mounting hole will be on the light once the light is laid in the ceiling grid.

  5. 5

    Set the light into the ceiling grid. Install a chain from each "S-hook" to each hanging hook. When properly installed, the light should be exerting little to no force downward on the ceiling grid. Slack in the chain means you need to move it up a notch or two and if the light hangs above the grid, you will need to move the chain back down a notch or two.

  6. 6

    Open up the light diffuser panel on the bottom of the light to access the internal components of the fluorescent light. Locate the levers on one side of the light and pull them down. The diffuser panel should then detach from the light on that side and rotate downward.

  7. 7

    Run electrical power wiring from your light's power source to your fluorescent light. Connect the wiring to the light with an electrical connector.

  8. 8

    Connect the black wire from the power source to the black wire in the light. Connect the white wire from the power source to the white wire in the light. Connect the ground wire to the green screw within the light.

  9. 9

    Insert the correct fluorescent bulbs into your light. Refer to your light for proper type and sizing. Close the light diffuser panel by rotating it back upward and pushing up on the levers.

  10. 10

    Turn the power back on to your light. It should now turn on when you engage the power source.

Tips and warnings

  • Some fluorescent fixtures may have internal wiring that needs to be completed before wiring the light. Refer to your light's installation instructions to see what your particular light needs.
  • Consult your local electrical code to review what type wiring and connectors you need to meet your municipality's code.

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