Equipment Maintenance & RepairHome ImprovementLightingU Do ItVideo

Save Money by Repurposing Lighting Fixtures

Retrofitting or repurposing lighting fixtures is another example of saving money in tough economic times. In this video, I demonstrate how to fix a permanently installation lighting fixture to make it one that can be hung up.

Our friend Blaise gave me two fluorescent lighting fixtures. One was broken and had an electrical cord with a 3-prong plug. The other was a salvaged lighting fixture permanently installed in an office and professionally removed by an electrician. Blaise needs me to remove the electrical cord from the broken one and install it within the other fixture.

Removing the Electrical Cord and Plug

The broken lighting fixture has the electrical cord entering the side of the housing with a grommet that holds it in place. I was able to remove the side panel and identify the wiring. The ground wire was affixed within a tab, which was easy to remove. I used diagonal cutters to cut away the neutral and hot wires. Lastly, I needed to cut apart the housing to free the grommet and the cord.

Inspecting the Good Lighting Fixture

It is necessary to inspect the operational lighting fixture to determine how to open it and attach the cord to it. I was able to open the housing and identify the hot and neutral lines on the ballast. Then I was able to find a place where I could secure the ground wire. Lastly, I found a punchout on the housing that I could remove and install a 3/8″ Romex connector where the cord could be run through.

Installation of the Romex Connector

If you want a safe installation you’ll want to use some form of interfacing connection between the cord and the sharp metal housing. A Romex connector is one such interface. You can pass the cord through it and secure the cord by torquing the mounting screws down. This is exactly what I did. In addition, I left the ground wire sticking through the top of the connector so I could mount it onto a bolt.

Connecting Hot and Neutral to the Ballast

So, our cord is properly secured with the Romex connector, and our ground wire is safely attached to a ground screw. Now I can strip the hot and neutral wires of both the cord and the ballast. Once stripped, I was able to connect the two hot wires using a crimp cap wire connector. Then I was able to do the same with the neutrals. I helped to add some extra peace of mind by using electrical tape.

Power-Up Test

Once everything was connected I was able to attach the housing, plug it in, and install the fluorescent bulbs. And it worked!

Saving Money

By repurposing an older fluorescent lighting fixture I was able to save Blaise money but also write this article based on my experience. The bulbs that were used for a test are not the bulbs that will be used. Rather, Blaise will get LED drop-in replacement bulbs that match the profile of the 4ft fluorescent bulbs. These newer bulbs will break even in two years based on the initial cost and energy savings. Remember, it is really important to choose bulbs that are UL-listed. Using bulbs that are not UL-listed carries a risk that is not justifiable in my opinion.

Tools and Materials Used in this Retrofit

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