replacing one ceiling fixture with two fixtures in kitchen

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coffeeguy
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Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:23 pm

replacing one ceiling fixture with two fixtures in kitchen

Post by coffeeguy » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:43 pm

I live in a building that just reached its 50th birthday in the USA. I have a kitchen which contains 2 6-foot long fluorescent fixtures which each takes 2 6-ft long tubes (for a total of 24 feet of lighting.) Both fixtures are wired to one switch. When one tube burns out, the second tube in that fixture will not work alone. I would like to replace these 2 long fixtures with 4 4-ft long fluorescent fixtures in a square pattern on the ceiling rather than the 2 existing long fixures mounted parallel (in position) to each other on the ceiling. Is it possible to wire 2 4-foot fixtures to the wiring of one 6-ft fixture, so that, ideally, I could have the 4 shorter fixtures wired to the one existing switch that controls the lighting in this kitchen??? Can you advise??


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Aaron
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Re: replacing one ceiling fixture with two fixtures in kitchen

Post by Aaron » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:43 pm

coffeeguy wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:43 pm
Is it possible to wire 2 4-foot fixtures to the wiring of one 6-ft fixture, so that, ideally, I could have the 4 shorter fixtures wired to the one existing switch that controls the lighting in this kitchen??? Can you advise??
Yes, definitely. I understand you're wishing to replace these 6-foot-long lights.

You should have power from the light switch going to one fixture, and then just a line extending from that one fixture into the other one. Using that logic, you can do that extension two more times for the third and fourth fixtures.

The fact one of your lights doesn't work right with just one bulb is more an issue with the fluorescent ballast in the fixture, not the power that is going to the lights. Modern electronic fluorescent ballasts don't have this issue. But if the lights are original to the 1968 building, the non-electronic ballast may definitely have issues with an unbalanced load.

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A. Spruce
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Re: replacing one ceiling fixture with two fixtures in kitchen

Post by A. Spruce » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:19 pm

I've never seen a two bulb fluorescent fixture operate on only one bulb. When one burns out, the other is dim and flickers and usually isn't too far behind in failing. Usually this is a ballast issue, change the ballast usually fixes it. I can't say that I've ever seen a 6' fluorescent fixture, so swapping out to 4' fixtures that are more common is definitely the way to go, and I'd recommend going one step further and install LED fixtures instead of fluorescent fixtures.

Here's where it gets tricky, LED fixtures are not likely going to have replaceable bulbs, so when a bulb fails you're replacing the entire fixture, that is not only a hassle, it will get expensive quickly. I recently bought some 4' LED fixtures at Costco, the tubes are not removable, they cost $25 each. More expensive fixtures might have replaceable bulbs, I would go with those OR I'd buy 4' fluorescent fixtures and put LED bulbs in them. If your fixtures are inside a light box, then you can buy the cheapest shop light and covert them to LED, cheap shop lights will probably run you $10 or less, and you can get LED tubes for $10 a piece, so whether you buy a dedicated LED fixture or convert a fluorescent one, you'll be into it for about the same money.

Take the time to learn and understand how LED lights are rated (kelvin and lumens ), the light you see is much different than what you're used to with fluorescent bulbs, it's brighter and can be more harsh, depending on the kelvin/lumen ratio. I just put 5000 kelvin/2400 lumen bulbs in my kitchen and it's definitely brighter than before, which is what I was looking for. I highly recommend finding a bulb retailer so that you can see the different bulbs in action to make your choice. The offerings at the local big box and hardware stores left a lot to be desired when trying to understand the K/L ratio and the amount of light the bulb is going to give you.
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