How to Wire Fluorescent Light Fixtures

Fluorescent overhead lamp in office image by Alexey Kuznetsov from

Wiring fluorescent light fixtures is a common job for the do-it-yourselfer. Due to their greener profile, the operating cost and improved quality, fluorescent lights are a popular choice for both homes and businesses. Whether you need to install a new light, or simply replace the ballast on a dead one, wiring a fluorescent light is a straightforward task, if you have the right tools and a little know-how.

Cut the power to the fixture or electrical box. Locate the fuse box or circuit breaker box in the basement or utility closet and disconnect the electrical current.

Remove the bulbs and any ornamental accessories. If you are replacing the ballast on a broken fixture, you will need to remove these to access the ballast.

Remove the holding screws. A series of screws will hold the back panel in place. Once these are removed, the panel will come off revealing the ballast and inner wire connections. Remove the ballast and cut the wires at a length of about 4 inches from the electrical box in the ceiling or wall.

Strip the wires. Use a pair of wire strippers and strip both the wires coming from the electrical box and the wires coming from the new ballast. Twist the copper wires a few times so that each wire has a tight bundle.

Attach the new ballast to the fixture. Match up the wires by colour. Twist the white to the white, black to black, etc. Twist them tightly and then cover with a wire cap for safety.

Reattach the cover panel and any bulbs or decorative items and turn the power back on to test.

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