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

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4 thoughts on “How to Replace a Fluorescent Light With a Track Light

  1. Alison, where did you get your track lighting and what does the glass look like with the light turned off. Just wondering bc I like that track lighting. Great job!

    Like

  2. Hi, your kitchen looks great! I’m just wondering, is the track lighting enough light for your kitchen? We are redoing ours very soon and trying hard to figure out our lighting situation.

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    • So sorry I took so long to reply. Unexpected life changes!

      Anyway, I think it is plenty of light. My husband at first didn’t think so but he adjusted. I assumed though if it ended up not being enough light we would install some under cabinet lights to make it brighter. I’d personally rather have 4 or 6 can lights in addition to the track light just for looks, but that would be a huge project.

      Like

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