How to Replace Recessed Fluorescent Lights


Replacing your recessed fluorescent lights with a different array of light fixtures will provide your home with a contemporary look. You will have greater flexibility in designing your lighting without spending more on your energy bill, since compact fluorescent light bulbs can fit into standard sockets and use less electricity than incandescent bulbs. Also, you can direct light with more accuracy to specific areas when using individual lights, unlike a single bank of recessed fluorescent tubes.

Things You'll Need

  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
  • Replacement recessed light fixtures
  • Screwdriver
  • Ladder
  • Wire nuts
  • Drywall
  • Drywall screws
  • Drywall saw
  • Drywall mesh tape
  • Joint compound
  • Sander
  • Turn off the light switch and cut off power to the light at your circuit breaker panel. Remove the cover from the recessed fluorescent light panel and carefully remove the fluorescent tubes.

  • Remove the existing fixture from the ceiling, using a screwdriver to remove the screws holding the fixture in place. Disconnect the wires from the fixture.

  • Measure the gap in your ceiling and cut a piece of drywall the same size and shape. For each fixture you plan to install, trace a circle onto the piece of drywall using the template that came with the fixtures. Cut the circles out using the drywall saw.

  • Install the drywall piece into the ceiling. Secure it with drywall screws and cover the seams with the drywall mesh tape. Spread the joint compound over the tape and screws, and sand it with the sander after it dries.

  • Connect the black wire from inside the new light fixture’s wiring box to the black wire inside the ceiling. Repeat this step with the white wire, then again for the additional fixtures.

  • Insert the new fixtures into the holes and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to secure them in place. Screw the compact fluorescent light bulbs into the sockets and install the baffles. Turn the power back on.

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