How to Install Fluorescent Lights

 

How to Install Fluorescent Lights

Organize It! – Phase 5 of 8

 

You can view all of my Posts by clicking on the following LinkHelpMeFixHome.com

 

Flush-mount Fluorescent Lighting

Flush-mount Fluorescent Lighting

 

 How to Install Fluorescent Lights

 

How to Install Fluorescent Lights is a fairly easy Project, and should be done in both of your Bases. 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 all DIYers.

 

Tip:  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. Your Workbench Lights can either be single-bulb or 2-bulb designs, but will usually be 4’ long as well.

 

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 lengths. 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, but never shorter. 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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Materials, Tool, and Supplies Needed

 

Some of the Materials in the Materials & Supplies Needed list may not be needed, depending on your type of Installation. The amounts needed of each item will depend on your individual Designs.

 

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)

 

In order to purchase any Materials & Supplies Needed, see the appropriate page in any of the drop-down pages under:  Home Products – Supplies in my Top Menu.

Scroll down the list to find the correct item. You will find an explanation of that item, as well as, links under each item, which direct you to my Recommended Suppliers for you to check out their offerings.

 

 

Tools & Supplies Needed:

  • Safety Glasses
  • Mechanics Work Gloves
  • Design Plans for both your Primary Base and your Secondary Base
  • Stud Finder
  • 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

 

In order to purchase any Tools & Supplies Needed, see the appropriate page in any of the drop-down pages under:  Home – Garden:  Tools and Equipment List  in my Top Menu.

Scroll down the list to find the correct item. You will find an explanation of that item, as well as, links under each item, which direct you to my Recommended Suppliers for you to check out their offerings.

 

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Step-by-Step Instructions

 

 

Please review the information included here in the first 5 Steps, and then review my page:  5 Steps for Project Management.  When you have completed those first 5 Steps, you can return here to continue on to Step 6.

 

Step 1 – Assess the Project

 

Look around in both of your Bases, and consult your Design Plans for both areas. Envision what items will be placed where, and how much light you will need in each area. Decide on the sizes and styles of your Lights for each of your Bases, as well as the amount needed for each.

 

Step 2 – Create a Materials & Tools Needed Sheet

 

Consult your Design Plans for both of your Bases, and narrow down your choices of Lighting to specifics, as to:  design styles, lengths, number of bulbs, cover styles, and amounts needed for each of your Bases. Once you have decided on placement, decide whether you will doing flush-mount or chain-type installations.

Make sure that when you are creating your Materials & Tools Needed sheet, that you are specifically listing plug-in type Lights, not hard-wire type Lights. Also, take measurements from each Light’s location to the nearest Receptacle, so that you can calculate your Extension Cords needs, as well as, mounting clips needs.

 

Decide on Locations and Installation Types

  • 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 (this will usually be about 6” from each end). These marks will need to be either at the center of each Stud that you intend to use for your mounting or outside of your Studs so that you can use Mollies. You can drill additional holes in your Light Frames, if necessary, exactly where you need them.

 

  • The Lights will also need to be mounted with the appropriate distance away from any walls or other obstacles, in order for your Light Frame to have adequate clearance (at least 1” of 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 your Lights will be suspended, your Studs will still need to be located, so that you know whether or not you will need to use Mollies when installing the Hooks to hang your Lights.

 

  • Mark each Light on your Design Plans with a number and circle that number. On scratch paper, you can identify each Light by it’s number, and list the specifics for each light, such as:  design type, length, number of bulbs, and cover style. Below those specifics, list the type of mounting: ‘flush’ or ‘suspended’, and then the hardware and amounts of each type needed for that Light Mollies, Hooks, Screws, S-Hooks, Chain (length), and Cord Staples (one Staple per 2’ of Cord). (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.)

 

  • Below that, list the Extension Cord length needed for the Light and the gauge:  14 or 16 gauge.

 

 

Calculating Materials & Tools Needed

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

 

  • Now, on your scratch paper, for both of your Bases, add up all of your Lights that are exactly alike in all respects (except for Extension Cord lengths) and list them on your Materials & Supplies Needed sheet. Then, list any additional Lights needed on your sheet.

 

  • Also, add up all of the bulbs that you will need, and add that to your sheet, identifying the bulbs by:  amount needed, bulb type, and length. You should also order a few extra to keep on hand for replacements.

 

  • Following that, list all of the Extension Cords needed, by length and gauge:  14 or 16 gauge.

 

  • Then, add up all of the hardware needed for all of your Lights and combine the amounts for like types, and add those items to your sheet. Double check the Materials & Supplies Needed list at the beginning of these Instructions to make sure that you have not missed anything.

 

Also, check the Tools & Supplies Needed list which follows, to make sure that you add any Tools needed to your sheet.

 

 

Step 3 – Calculate Project Cost

Step 4 – Order Your Materials & Tools Needed

Step 5 – Inspect Your Delivery

 

After reviewing the information here, additional information to complete these first (5) Steps is found in the page:  5 Steps for Project Management.  Simply click on that link and you will be directed there.

After completing those first (5) Steps, return to these Instructions and continue on to Step 6.

 

Step 6 – 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.

 

Flush-mount Fluorescent Lighting

Flush-mount Fluorescent Lighting

 

There are separate Instructions for ‘flush’ and ‘suspended’ mounting, as follows:

Flush Mounting

a.  For each ‘flush’ mounted Light, you must first measure the width of your LightFframe. Then double-check that your location ‘X’s are in a place that will allow the proper clearance for your Frame (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 Screws, and screw your Light frame tightly in place. If they are not, you can drill additional holes in your Frame.

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” as a 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.

Now, take your Phillips Head Hand Screwdriver, and with your Assistant holding the Frame in place, screw your Frame in. Remove the Painter’s Tape pieces when you are finished.

d.  If 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 into your Wallboard for your Mollies, and tap each one into place. Then, screw in your Light. Remove the Painter’s Tape pieces when you are finished.

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

 

 

Suspended Fluorescent Lighting

Suspended Fluorescent Lighting

 

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 (usually, these will be about 12” – 24“ long).

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.

d.  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.)

e.  Repeat this process for each ‘suspended’ mounted Light in both of your Bases.

 

Installing the Bulbs and Fastening Your Extension Cord

a. 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.

b. Plug your Light into your Extension Cord, and your Cord 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.

c. Then, take your Cord Staples or Hook Fasteners, and install them against your Extension Cord at 24” intervals.

 

Tip:  Do not hammer down your Fasteners too tight. You want them touching your Cord, but not indenting it.

 

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 or ask a Question in the Comments section below. Let me know how your Project went.

 

Thanks,

CJ Dodaro

 

 

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