Organize – Phase 5: How to Install Fluorescent Lights

 

Phase 5:  How to Install Fluorescent Lights

 

About Fluorescent Lighting

Installing some 4’ fluorescent lighting in both of your Bases is usually appropriate. Some general overhead lighting, as well as some strategically placed lighting for specific areas will be beneficial.

Plug-in fluorescent lighting is easy to install, and very practical for the all DIYers.

Important:  Placement is key to providing the best light, and avoiding unwanted shadows.

Fluorescent lighting comes in a variety of sizes, styles, and types. They can be:  (1) bulb, (2) bulbs or (4) bulbs, with or without covers, plain or decorative, etc. Choose the ones that best suit your needs. Your choices may be different for each of your Bases.

My recommendations are:  4’, plain design, with covers, (2) 40W bulbs each. At least (2) in each of your Bases, for general overhead lighting, and an additional light positioned over each of your workbenches.

Make sure that the lights you choose, are the plug-in type, and NOT the hard-wire type, unless you are proficient in electrical work.

Most of the plug-in fluorescent lights have short cords, so you will probably need to purchase an extension cord for each one. Make sure that you purchase the heavy duty variety, not the cheap, flat, thin ones. 14 or 16 gauge cords will suffice.

Extension cords come in a variety of sizes. Measure the distance from the place each light will be hung, to the closest receptacle, running your cords against the ceiling and wall. Purchase cords closest to the sizes needed. You can pin the cords against the ceiling and wall with cord staples or hook fasteners.

Fluorescent lights can either be flush-mounted to the ceiling (screwed in – no hooks) or suspended with chains and S-hooks attached to the light. The choice(s) are yours. Some lights will come with S-hooks and chains, some do not.

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Phase 5:  How to Install Fluorescent Lights

 

Some of the materials in the Materials & Supplies Needed list may not be needed, depending on your type of Installation.

Materials & Supplies Needed:

  • 4’ – (2) Bulb, Fluorescent Lights (amount dependent on your designs)
  • #10 Mollies (if hooks for lights do not go into studs)
  • #10 Hooks for Hanging Your Lights (amount determined by the number of lights installed – 2 per light)
  • #10 Flathead Phillips Screws (for flush-mounted lights)
  • S-Hooks (2 – per light, if you are suspending on chains)
  • Thin Chain (if you are suspending your lights – make sure that the links will accommodate your hooks)
  • Heavy Duty Extension Cords (amount and sizes to be determined as needed)
  • Cord Staples or Hook Fasteners (amount to be determined by the number of lights and the lengths of the cords)

Purchase Materials & Supplies Needed at  AceHardware.com   Amazon.com   eBay.com   HomeDepot.com   SamsClub.com   Walmart.com

 

Tools & Supplies Needed:

  • Safety Glasses
  • Mechanics Work Gloves
  • Design Plans for both your Primary Base and your Secondary Base
  • Scratch Paper
  • Clipboard
  • Sharpened Pencil
  • Stud Finder
  • 25’ Tape Measure
  • Roll of Painter’s Tape
  • Claw Hammer
  • (1) 1” long or longer Finishing Nail
  • Cordless Drill and (3) Drill Bits (one bit with a diameter equal to or slightly smaller than the #10 Flathead Phillips Screws, one bit with a diameter equal to or slightly smaller than the #10 Mollies,and one bit that is slightly larger than your screws)
  • Slotted Hand Screwdriver
  • Phillips Hand Screwdriver
  • Hacksaw or Side-Cutters (if installing lights with chains)
  • Whisk Broom
  • Broom and Dust Pan or Shop Vac

Purchase Tools & Supplies Needed at:   AceHardware.com   Amazon.com   eBay.com   HomeDepot.com   SamsClub.com   Walmart.com

 

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Step-by-Step Instructions

 

Decide on Locations and Installation Types

Before you can create a Materials and Tools Needed sheet, you will need to decide on the locations and installation types of each of your lights in both of your Bases.

Consult your design plans and see exactly where your lights are to be installed in both of your Bases. If you do not have that information listed in your plans, you will need to decide on that now. Mark the ends of where each light will be installed, using 2” long strips of painter’s tape.

Then, take your stud finder and painter‘s tape, and check for stud locations in between and near your marked light locations, and mark both sides of each stud with a small piece of tape. If you will be ‘flush’ mounting any lights, you will need to pencil mark an ‘x’ at the exact locations of where your mounting screws need to go. These marks will need to be at the center of each stud that you intend to use for your mounting, as well as the appropriate distance away from any walls or other obstacles, in order for your light frame to have adequate clearance. (Most light frames will be 6” – 8” wide, but you can consult the information available for your choice of lights when placing your order. You can relocate these marks later, before installing.)

If you lights will be suspended, your studs will NOT need to be located in a particular spot relative to your light. The chains that you use to hang your lights can be adjusted length-wise to accommodate. If you are installing your lights flush, you can drill holes in your light frames, if necessary, exactly where you need them. If you are installing using mollies, stud location will not be all that important, but you will need to know where they are.

Step 1 – Create a Materials & Supplies Needed Sheet

Some of the information to complete this Step is found in the page:   Steps Common to All Projects

Simply click on that Link and you will be directed there.

You can also access it in the drop-down Top Menu under:   Home

However, you will also need to review the following information before accessing:   Steps Common to All Projects

 

Calculate your Materials & Tools Needed based on your installation choices.

List the number of lights, type, and style of your choosing, for each of your Bases, on your Materials & Tools Needed sheet. On both this sheet, and on your design plans, mark the type of installation for each light, either ‘flush’ or ‘suspended’. Also list the appropriate number of fluorescent light bulbs that you will need. (Add extra bulbs to your TOTAL amount in order to have them on hand for when bulbs burn out.) Mark these items in your appropriate columns on your Materials & Tools Needed sheet.

(You will need approximately 2’ of chain, along with (2) each of any hooks, mollies, screws, and S-hooks needed, for each light, depending on your types of installation.)

Then, calculate the amounts of:  hooks, mollies, screws, chain, and S-hooks that you will need for each of your Bases, and write that information in the appropriate columns. Add all of your TOTALS for your items, and enter that information in the TOTALS column.

Now, calculate your lengths of extension cords needed for each light in both of your Bases. Add these items in the appropriate columns on your sheet.

Then, add any Tools Needed to your Materials & Tools Needed sheet that you will need to purchase in order to complete this project.

 

Step 2 – Calculate Project Cost

 

Step 3 – Order Your Materials & Tools Needed

Step 4 – Inspect Your Delivery

The information to complete these first (4) Steps is found in the page:   Steps Common to All Projects

Simply click on that Link and you will be directed there.

You can also access it in the drop-down Top Menu under:   Home

After completing these (4) Steps, simply click on your ‘back arrow’ (top left corner of the page) to return to these instructions.

 

Step 5 – Install Your Lighting

You will need an assistant for the installations.

Install your lighting and extension cords in both of your Bases.

Beginning in your Primary Base, check your design plan for the locations, type of lights, and type of installations for each light. Then, gather all of the Materials & Tools Needed for the first light installation. There are separate instructions for ‘flush’ and ‘suspended’ mounting, as follows:

 

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Flush Mounting

a.  For each ‘flush’ mounted light, you must first measure the width of your light frame. Then double-check that your location ‘x’s are the proper distance away from any obstacles (You should have at least 1” of clearance from any wall or obstacle). Relocate your ‘x’s if necessary.

b.  Then, take your light frame (NO light bulbs installed), with your plug on the appropriate side of your light (closest to your receptacle), and have your assistant hold it up to the installation spot. Check to see if the ‘x’s are visible within any of the pre-drilled holes in the light frame. If they are, take your phillips head hand screwdriver and screw your light frame tightly in place.

If they are NOT, and you are installing with mollies, take your finishing nail and claw hammer, and punch an indentation in your wallboard, in the center of the holes that you intend to use in your frame (if possible, they should be equally spaced from each end of the frame). Then, take the appropriate drill bit, and pre-drill for your mollies, and tap each one into place. Then, screw in your light.

c.  If you intend to drill additional holes in your frame in order to attach it into a stud, you will need to measure the distance from the end of your frame to each stud, and then transfer those measurements to your frame, marking them with a small indentation using your finishing nail and claw hammer. Then, take the appropriate drill bit (using a scrap piece of 2” x 4” backer between your frame and your work table), and drill the holes needed in your frame (Temporarily mark each one with a small piece of painter’s tape, so that you know which holes to use for installation. You will remove the tape pieces when you screw the frame into place).

Now, take your phillips head hand screwdriver, and with your assistant holding the frame in place, screw your frame in, removing the painter’s tape when you are finished.

d.  Now, with your frame firmly mounted, you can install your bulbs. For each bulb, slide the pins into the slots on both ends of your light at the same time, and then rotate your bulb 90 degrees. You should feel the bulb snap into place.

e.  Plug your extension cord into your light, and into your receptacle. Now, if your light is switch operated turn it ON , to make sure that it works. If it does NOT, check to make sure that your bulbs are installed correctly. Rotate each one slightly and make sure that they are locked into place. If you try this and the light still does NOT work, try changing each of the bulbs, one at a time, to check if either is defective.

f.  Then, take your cord staples or hook fasteners, and install them against your extension cord at 12” to 18” intervals (Do NOT hammer down your fasteners too tight. You want them touching your cord, but NOT indenting it.)

Repeat this process for each ‘flush’ mounted light in both of your Bases.

 

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Suspended Mounting

a.  For each ‘suspended’ mounted light, cut equal lengths of chain, using your hacksaw or side-cutters, measured to the appropriate length that you wish to suspend.

b.  If you are using mollies, install them into the appropriate places.

c.  Screw your hooks into place.

Tip:  You can use your slotted hand screwdriver to assist you in screwing in your hooks.

Install one end of each piece of chain on each hook. Then, take the other end of each chain and attach an S-hook to it. Now, hook the S-hooks to your light frame in the appropriate holes, making sure that your cord is located on the appropriate side. (If your light does not hang evenly suspended, you will need to adjust the chain at the S-hook until it does, or try a different hole in your frame.)

d.  Now, with your frame firmly mounted, you can install your bulbs. For each bulb, slide the pins into the slots on both ends of your light at the same time, and then rotate your bulb 90 degrees. You should feel the bulb snap into place.

e.  Plug your extension cord into your light, and into your receptacle. Now, if your light is switch operated turn it ON , to make sure that it works. If it does NOT, check to make sure that your bulbs are installed correctly. Rotate each one slightly and make sure that they are locked into place. If you try this and the light still does NOT work, try changing each of the bulbs, one at a time, to check if either is defective.

f.  Then, take your cord staples or hook fasteners, and install them against your extension cord at 12” to 18” intervals. (Do NOT hammer down your fasteners too tight. You want them touching your cord, but NOT indenting it.)

Repeat this process for each ‘suspended’ mounted light that you are installing in both of your Bases.

 

When Completed, Stand Back and Admire Your Handiwork!

Congratulations on Completing Your Project!

 

Now clean up any messes and put all tools away.

 

Stay Organized!

 

Please take the time to leave a Comment, letting me know how your project went.

 

Thanks,

CJ Dodaro

 

 

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