How to Replace a Fluorescent Light With a Track Light

How to Replace a Fluorescent Light With a Track Light

We just closed on our new house on the 12th and began the awful process of moving in….during the week…a little bit everyday….after work…when we really didn’t want to. But we managed to get the essentials moved in before my in-laws came for an early holiday visit. As far as fixing up the house, we had several things we wanted to do, one of the most important was changing out the fluorescent light in the kitchen. I HATE fluorescent tube ceiling lights! I work in them all day (because government buildings refuse to use lighting that is easier on the retinas) and refuse to come home to yet another intense, unflattering light. And although I could have completed this project on my own, my father-in-law (who has been building houses for over 40 years) was more than happy wipe it off the to-do list for me while the tools were still out 🙂

The process is fairly straight forward and pretty much as simple as taking the old one down and putting a new one up, but I’ll admit, the first time I did this a few years ago, it was a little confusing, thus this tutorial is born! Before I get started, I would like to apologize for the awful quality pictures. For most of the process, I was using my husbands iPhone to take pictures and those phones do NOT have good cameras.

This picture was taken during our home inspection before purchasing, but it will do just fine since I forgot to take a picture of the light before we took it down. Oops lol

BEFORE: This picture was taken during our home inspection before purchasing, but it will do just fine since I forgot to take a picture of the light before we took it down. Oops lol

REPLACING A FLUORESCENT LIGHT WITH TRACK LIGHTING:

Materials Needed: new light fixture, screwdriver and drill/driver, wire strippers, plastic wire nuts.

  1.  Shut off power to the house at the breaker box first. Then, remove the plastic cover from the light fixture and the light bulbs (they are VERY fragile so be extremely careful!)

    l5

    After the cover and the bulbs are removed, this is what you will see- a shell attached to the ceiling with a center cover within it.

  2. After you have removed the plastic cover and the bulbs, remove the center piece of the fixture. This is just a metal strip covering the wires. Depending on the kind you have, you may be able to just tug it off or you may have to unscrew a few screws.

    light

    This is the mess you will find under the center piece.

  3. Remove the caps from the wires and unravel them (the wires from the fixture will be twisted together with wires from the ceiling).

    Carefully untwist the wires

    Carefully untwist the wires

  4. After untwisting the wires, remove the screws holding the fixture shell on the ceiling.
  5. Make sure you have someone helping hold it up. Otherwise you will unscrew it and it may fall on you!

    Make sure you have someone helping hold it up. Otherwise you will unscrew it and it may fall on you!

    It's gone! Now the awkward hole in the ceiling with wires poking through....chic indeed.

    It’s gone! Now the awkward hole in the ceiling with wires poking through….chic indeed.

  6. We ended up finding that whoever put this light up originally, did not secure it with a ceiling electrical box. Usually lights are attached to a box placed between the ceiling joists for support. Ours, was not. Depending on your new light fixture and ceiling joists, that may or may not be a problem. After some measuring and knocking around, we just screwed the new light fixture’s supporting bracket straight into the joists (like hanging a picture on the wall using a wall stud.)

    Supporting bracket screwed directly into the joists- angled just right to hide the hole in the ceiling.

    Supporting bracket screwed directly into the joists- angled just right to hide the hole in the ceiling.

  7. Your new fixture probably came with a wiring diagram. As a standard, you a have a black or red coated wire (hot/live), a white coated wire (neutral) and a green coated or bare copper wire (ground wire). Connect the ground wire to the grounding screw (usually a green screw). Hook the wire around the screw and use a screwdriver to screw it in so that the screw is snug with the wire. Then, strip approximately a 1/2″ of the colored sheathes off the ends of the black and white wires from the light fixture with a pair or wire strippers. Twist the newly exposed ends of the fixture with the exposed ends of the corresponding black or white wires from the ceiling and secure the ends by twisting a plastic wire nut onto them. White wire with white wire, black wire with black wire.
  8. Tuck all wires into the ceiling hole. Then place the fixture on the supporting bracket on the ceiling and screw in the screws that came with the new fixture. Put the light bulbs in and position where you want the lights to point. Now you can turn the power back on and admire your new track light!

And behold! The beautiful new light! (Once the kitchen is cleared of all the crap on the counters, I will post pictures of the whole kitchen with the new light. Oh the joys of moving -_____- ) I know once we paint the cabinets white, the whole kitchen will come together so nicely!

tracklight

We used the same process to replace the light over the sink too! Replacing a dome light with a hanging, industrial cage light! We put one of the vintage looking Edison bulbs in it and it looks so cool in person!

cage cage2

Home Sweet Home

I am a little late on this post but I promise it is not my fault! As you may know, Jacob and I have been in the process of buying our first house! We were supposed to close on the 5th but a series of events on the owners side of things prevented that. Closing was delayed until the 12th and SUCCESS we finally got the house! Many of you have been waiting so patiently to see the place and I will finally allow some peaking!

**PHOTO DUMP**

Here is our new beauty. SO perfect!

Here is our new beauty. SO perfect!

Standing in the kitchen looking into the dining/living room combination. Prepped for painting.

Standing in the kitchen looking into the dining/living room combination. Prepped for painting.

In the far corner of the living room looking towards the dining and kitchen area.

In the far corner of the living room looking towards the dining and kitchen area.

Standing at the top of the stairs looking down to the first level. Visible door is coat closet, front door to the right of that.

Standing at the top of the stairs looking down to the first level. Visible door is coat closet, front door to the right of that.

I’d love to show you more pictures, but that will have to wait just a wee bit longer because as you can see there is still much to do and quite a bit to change as well. So Friday the 12th, we took possession and started making a to-do list. But it feels like there just isn’t enough time to get anything done. I’m sure many of you hard-working folks agree that weekends are just too short! We managed to paint part of the main room and moved a small load over Saturday but it was a long day of what feels like little progress. We wanted to move all the furniture and essentials Sunday and even had the volunteers to help….but this happened…

All of that blue on the radar is snow...

All of that blue on the radar is snow…

But for some weird reason, the news likes to LIE! It barely flurried until noon-ish but stayed dark and cloudy so we decided to just bite the bullet and delay moving. But around 330, it was clear and sunny with only some minor wind to inconvenience us. I was so anxious to get started but it was just too late to start moving anything important. We will have to move some Monday after work, a little more Tuesday after work, and hopefully the rest Wednesday after work because Jacob’s parents come for a visit on Thursday! I’m really excited to see them (unlike many spouses, I adore my in-laws lol) and I’m also really excited because they decided to drive here so they can bring our tools to our new house! Hopefully next weekend I can start on that project I showed y’all a sneak peak of last time!

I just have a bad feeling this is going to be the slowest process ever. Not only could we not move in this weekend but other things seem to be delaying the final “settling in” process. Example: because we couldn’t move anything serious today, we went to a few furniture stores to find a new living room set. We found a sectional, which surprised me because I really didn’t want one but I think I love it! However….part of it is backordered until the 26th and another part is backordered until January. *sigh*

We will just have to kind of go with the flow with all of this. Our apartment lease isn’t up until mid-January so there is time. Jacob’s dad is a general contractor who has built hundreds of houses so he is going to help with our to-do list items when he is here. Jacob’s mom did interior designing for the company so she can help me pick out rugs (it took me 4 months to choose lamps…I’m definitely going to need some help with rugs lol). We will get it all moved, fixed up and settled before too long.

I’ll be back next week to share about moving, my in-laws visit, our mini-renovations (with potential DIY directions!) and more.

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ps side note: if anyone in the Colorado Springs or Fountain area wants to learn more about buying a home or get the process started, contact Chuck Birger! He is an amazing realtor who made everything so easy to understand and really exhibited such patience with us. We really enjoyed working with him.

Great Friends, Full Bellies and Big Plans

So it has been two weeks since my first post and since then I have felt forced to venture deep into the baffling question of “Do I have anything blog-worthy to write about today?” Well today I finally realized some big stuff happened in my life recently! WARNING- this post is a little long winded….so I shall not dilly daddle and get right to it!

*Fun story that doesn’t relate to much but must be shared: The week before Thanksgiving, I was at work patiently awaiting the long break. Fortunately, the temperatures had steadied in the 30s, and in Colorado that is actually pretty warm during the day (I still don’t fully understand this state, because 30* in Florida is some hardcore ‘we’re not doing a darn thing outdoors today’ kind of weather). But because it was warm, we actually got to get out of the office and drive around down in the training areas. When we get the opportunity, we drive into areas where there is no live firing or training and just look around for safety hazards, areas that need re-vegetating or (more likely) just drive around killin’ time. Most of that week was spent parked downrange where I enjoyed a lively show put on by our chubby little plague carriers- Prairie Dogs! …literally, they have the plague, don’t touch them! But they are FASCINATING! Observing their communication habits alone was enough to keep me interested for a while. **side note- the wildlife guys tried to lessen their numbers by putting poison in the burrows and burying them…well the other chunk butts came and dug their friends out. Like I said, fascinating!**

 Prarie Dog

Finally Wednesday came and we all got to leave work early! I normally work 0630 to 1630 but I got to leave the office at 10! Good timing too because Jake’s company/platoon/whatever was having their annual Turkey Bowl that morning and families were invited. Jacob is still broken from a knee injury he made 10x worse in April so he got out of playing, but there was free food and lots of friends. And while I’m sure you could care less, I just wanted the chance to share the beautiful view.

turkeybowl

Photo Credit to my lovely friend Denise

Finally…THANKSGIVING DAY! We were invited to a Thanksgiving potluck with a lot of people Jake works with. This turned out to be super convenient because I have found over the years, there is no point in cooking a huge traditional dinner when there are only two people to enjoy it. For this potluck, I made mashed potatoes and gravy from scratch (ensuring I put lots of Everglades seasoning in the mix to make the fellow Floridians miss home) as well as mini pumpkin pies! For those of you on Pinterest, I’m sure you’ve seen them, if not, click here! They were awesome.

We did not go anywhere at 4am on black Friday, but we did load up with friends later in the day and took a trip to numerous stores including Bass Pro where I got Jacob a new compound bow- kind of early Christmas I guess! *check back later for archery shenanigans*  We also went to Cabela’s where I saw this gravity defying mountain lion mount and begged Jake for probably 10 minutes to pose for this picture….enjoy peeps, this took a lot of work haha

He can be so difficult sometimes...but I got the picture!

He can be so difficult sometimes…but I got the picture!

THEN came the big money! The house we are buying will not include a washer & dryer, and those aren’t easy to live without soooo, with twisted arms, we looked to buying a set. I’m not fond of washing my clothes in a vessel that has held strangers dirty linens so new it had to be. Luckily, the home improvement stores have black Friday sales all week so we went to Home Depot and (after momentarily feeling great disappointment because the red ones weren’t available) we fell in love with a wonderful Samsung set! I guess this is adulthood huh?….getting excited about a new washer & dryer…. Never the less, we saved almost $800 with black Friday deals! Part of being a responsible, grown-up adult is budgeting finances so we timed it right and instead of enjoying Starbucks and new clothes the past few weeks (like I wanted to), we prepared for the purchase and paid for them in full! I only mention that because I am super duper proud of myself haha no financing over here!  **check back later for the laundry room make-over!**

So after four and a half days of a wonderfully long too short break, I am back at work prowling for coyotes instead of prairie dogs this week. Thanks for reading!

Sneak peak of the next post…

masonjars

Can you guess what I am planning?

 Also, tune in this weekend to see the new home! If the rest of the paperwork goes smoothly, we close on Friday!