Ideas For Fluorescent Kitchen Light Replacement

Ideas for Fluorescent Kitchen Light Replacement

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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With fluorescent light fixtures in your kitchen, you are on the right track to lowering your energy bills and thus, helping the world lower greenhouse emissions. But, as good as these fluorescent lights are, you need to keep them in optimum condition and, when necessary, know the best fluorescent kitchen light replacement techniques. Read on as we discover more about fluorescent bulbs.

What is Fluorescent Lighting?

Fluorescent lighting is designed for heavy use and is often common in commercial buildings like offices and grocery stores. The fluorescent light bulbs are powered by a chemical reaction inside their glass tubes. The tubes have metal electrodes on each end, while the middle is filled with mercury and argon gas. In addition, these light fixtures use a ballast to control the voltage.

Unlike other bulbs, a fluorescent light bulb does not consume a lot of energy as it does not heat a metallic filament to produce light. However, it will use a higher voltage to light up when you press your AC switch, which is necessary for ionizing the gases. After the bulb light up, the ballast, which controls the voltage, maintains the lighting system at a lower voltage.

You can use different fluorescent light fixtures for your kitchen lighting, including linear tubes and compact fluorescent lights. While these lights are known for making rooms bright and possibly messing with your complexion, they emit the least UV light since they are coated with phosphors.

The fluorescent light is great for the kitchen, where you want bright lighting from bulbs and lamps that produce little heat. So, they are good for your energy bill, and they also will not drain your generator in case of a power blackout. But, what do you do if you notice your lights are not working properly? Are the lamps or ballast broken? Here are some symptoms your fluorescent light bulbs may need replacing.

When to Replace A Fluorescent Light Fixture in Your Kitchen

Before replacing your fluorescent light fixture, look out for the following malfunctions.

a) Too much flickering

There is one challenge most homeowners notice with fluorescent light bulbs. They often flicker for a while when you turn the switch on, but this soon passes once the ballast gets enough voltage. However, if your lights continue flickering for the entire duration of your cooking session, the sign would indicate they are slowly failing and need fast replacement.

When installing the light bulbs, you will notice that the sockets rely on tension to hold them on their fixtures. Over time, this tension can decrease, meaning the bulbs will get loose and won't attract enough electrical connection. So, you can try twisting the bulbs back into the sockets before removing them. However, if the flickering continues, you can explore how to replace the bulbs.

b) No lights after you flip the switch on

If your fluorescent bulbs don't turn on after you flip the switch, you might need to consider two options. First, you can check if the circuit breaker is on. If it is on and you still don't get light, you can consider replacing the bulbs as they are most likely fried.

c) A humming sound

Whenever there is a humming sound coming from the light fixture, it indicates an impending problem from the ballast. For example, the sound indicates the ballast is almost failing, or it is the wrong ballast for the particular light fixture.

If the ballast is damaged, you will notice it emitting a black-like substance into the tube, and you need to replace it and the bulb urgently. Alternatively, if the ballast is not damaged but produces the humming sound, you can replace it with a more compatible ballast for the light fixture.

d) You want to change your interior design theme

Let's face it, these fluorescent bulbs are bright and energy-efficient, but the design can be outdated, especially with linear ambient lighting. As such, you can start replacing fluorescent lighting boxes with more modern flush mount fixture designs such as a chandelier, pendant, or illuminated light box.

If the overhead lighting is not enough with the new design, you can also invest in fluorescent recessed lights, track lights, can lights, ot task lights. So when you've decided it's finally time to replace your fluorescent kitchen lights, here are the steps to follow.

Steps for Successful Fluorescent Kitchen Light Replacement

Whether your light bulbs are broken, or you want to upgrade your kitchen to suit a more modern design, here are the steps to follow when replacing fluorescent lighting boxes and installing a new light fixture.

When you have gathered all the necessary supplies such as drill bit, screwdriver, and more, here are the steps to remove the fluorescent fixture and install a newer lighting design.

Step 1: Turn off the electricity. As usual, you want to be extremely careful when tinkering with electricity to prevent electrocution. Before replacing the fluorescent lighting boxes, turn off the switch first, then at the circuit breaker in the electrical panel box. If you have a generator for power supply, you can turn it off.

Step 2: Once power is off, you will start replacing fluorescent lighting boxes with your ideal designs. Alternatively, you might choose only to replace the fluorescent light bulb if the old one stops working. 

If you'd like to remove the entire light fixture, we will show you how to do it in the following steps. But first, start by removing the old mounting bracket from your kitchen ceiling.

In most cases, the fluorescent bulb is held in place by a metal panel and a plastic cover. If you want to replace the bulbs, you will need to remove the plastic cover then the bulbs. Once done, handle them carefully for disposal, and replace them with new functional bulbs. Replace the plastic panel.

If you want to replace the old fixture with a modern design to provide enough light, proceed as follows.

Step 3: Remove the metal panel to expose wires. Understand where the wires come through; it could be at the center or end of the light fixture. When you get the source, carefully start unscrewing the fixture, and ensure you note where the electrical wires go for reference when you start fixing new lighting. When removing the mounting bracket, you might need to use the drill bit to unfasten some screws.

Step 4: Once the whole fixture comes off, you can repaint the area since your new installation likely won't cover the same area. Before painting, ensure you refill the holes, so your ceiling is even.

Step 5: Start installing your new modern light fixtures, and be sure to follow the installation instructions coming with the manual that will show you how to connect your fixture to the electrical box. You will need to invest in fixtures that complement your kitchen theme. Additionally, pay attention to how much ceiling to floor drop you have.

Next, we share some of the best fluorescent lights you can use in the kitchen for the best cooking experience.

Best Ideas for Fluorescent Kitchen Light Replacement

Suppose you want to replace the entire fluorescent kitchen lighting fixture and not just the malfunctioning bulb. Frankly, the rectangular lighting design is outdated, and you want to ensure your kitchen reflects your style. In addition to style, you also want enough lighting for every corner of your kitchen, and maybe the overhead bulb is not enough. In this case, here are some modern fluorescent kitchen lights you can install.

a) Install recessed light bulbs

Recessed lights are a timeless lighting design that guarantees your kitchen has enough light in all areas. These lights are also called can lights and are small bulbs installed across the ceiling to focus their light beams in busy kitchens. You will need to understand your electrical wiring features before installing these lights.

b) Install a track light

A track light system will work great after removing the rectangular fluorescent fixture. You can fix the lights to illuminate the busy areas of your kitchen, such as the counters, kitchen table, and oven. Luckily, they don't need a complicated installation and can sit on the ceiling.

c) Task lighting

Task lighting is great when combined with ambient lights. You can install task lights under your cabinets for more lights you work in the kitchen. Luckily, these lights are easier to install than can lights and track lights.

d) Install fluorescent pendants

If you are tired of the rectangular fluorescent lighting boxes, you can replace them with modern ornamental pendants that provide light without being too harsh on your eyes. Pendants are available in many designs and are also easy to install.

If you want to replace your fluorescent lighting boxes with pendants, you will first need to fix a compatible mounting bracket and then connect the electrical wires using wire caps. Then, fasten the installation screws until the bracket is level with the ceiling before fixing the bulbs.

e) Install a chandelier

Do you have enough ceiling to floor height to work with after you've removed your old fluorescent lighting boxes? If so, you can get the classiest chandelier to bring the light closer to you as you cook. However, a chandelier is quite complicated to install, so you might need professional help to fix it.


Fluorescent kitchen light replacement is vital when distributing enough light across the kitchen. Fluorescent bulbs are energy efficient, but they will likely not fit into the new style when you want to upgrade the kitchen theme. As such, you need to know the best replacement ideas we have shared above.

Featured image source:

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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