Sign In to join the community | Help
Heating & Cooling

Adding Florescent lights in my garage

Hello, I am wanting to add 2 more lights in my garage, Homedepot  told me that I would not need any light boxes I would just need to run my wire out of the ceiling.. My question is would I need a junction box or how would I wire them together?   




Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2011-12-11T01:48:33+0000  by bud172ifr bud172ifr

Hey Buddy.


Where it would work to do this with no boxes, if you went to sell your house, a building inspector would have a conniption and insist that you put in ceiling boxes. I do not know where you live and I am not preaching code but here in Atlanta, that would not pass.


You will need to swing by the store and pick up 2 round ceiling boxes. In your ceiling is sheetrocked then you will need to pick up 2 round old work ceiling boxes. If your ceiling is just exposed studs then you will need to pick up 2 round new work ceiling boxes. If this room runs off a 15 amp breaker, then you will need to pick up some 14-2 wire, which includes a bare copper ground. If it is a 20 amp breaker then you will need a 12-2 wire. Wire each light together in the box and run a wire from box to box.


Many older homes built in the 60s and 70s were not wired with ground wires, which are required with fluorescent, otherwise they will not work. If your house is newer or simply has ground wires then there is no problem.

new work ceiling box.jpgnew work box

old work ceiling box.jpgold work box


If you have any other questions, hit me up here and I will be happy to help.






Posted 2011-12-11T15:05:45+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL

 Hi Buddy, I'm an electrician and I'll see if I can help you out here since you may be getting some misleading information. The NEC doesn't require you to use junction boxes as long as you connect to them according to code section 410.24 (A). through a metal raceway, nonmetallic raceway, type MC cable, type AC cable, Type MI "aka romex", nonmetallic sheathed cable, or flexible cord going to a receptacle properly placed in the ceiling. Now having said that, that doesn't mean that your local code doesn't allow you to do so. Just call the city hall and get a hold of the local Building Inspector and the individual should tell you how they would like to have it done. Typically tho, you can just come into one light with romex through a romex connector and go back out to the other light the same, "or daisy chaining it as we call it". A ground wire may be an issue depending on the age of the house as someone else had mentioned. However it is NOT true to say the lights will not run without a grounding conductor. It is true that it's not good practice and will not pass any code without a grounding conductor. This is unsafe and is a potential fire hazard. The grounding conductor is a normally non-current carrying conductor there for the protection of the equipment from short circuits. If your wiring in the house does not have a grounding conductor, probably the easiest way to make this work safely and pass code at the same time would be to either, install GFCI circuit breaker on the circuit, or install GFCI receptacle outlets. And be sure to mark them with GFCI protected and no equipment ground. This should properly complete your install. If your uncertain at all you should consult an electrician.   

Posted 2011-12-11T16:16:03+0000  by ciejere405

Thanks! My other two lights, do I just run the wire from one of them to one and to the other? I have a new house with 15 amp breakers for the lights in the garage.. So I will get the the 14/2.  Will a 40 WATT bulb on draw about 0.5 amps?



Posted 2011-12-11T22:52:37+0000  by bud172ifr

Hello ciejere405.  Welcome to the community!


We are glad to have you join the forum.  Having an experienced electrician onboard is a real plus.


One of the tricky issues I have in helping folks with electrical wiring issues involves code requirements.

These can vary greatly depending on where one lives.  As you pointed out, it is a great help to just talk to your local building inspector, since he or she will know if there are local specific restrictions.


For example, in the town I live in “romex” cable is not allowed.  Unincorporated county homes just a few miles away do not have this restriction, but may have other issues that vary from the NEC.  It all depends on where one lives, and the internet covers a lot of ground!


Again, thanks for joining the community.  Please keep us updated on your projects and feel free to join in helping others.



Posted 2011-12-13T15:28:59+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI

Hello Buddy.  Welcome to the community!


Since you mention 40 watt fluorescent lights and a ceiling run, I will assume you want lighting added above where your cars are parked.  I have a couple of ideas on how to do this.


First off, there are two types of fluorescent fixtures that you might use.  One is called a shop light, and these usually have a short cord attached to plug into an electrical outlet.

Shop Light.jpg

This is what I used in my garage.  I simply ran conduit up the wall from my light switch and over the ceiling into an electrical box right where the shop light is mounted.  The light plugs in to the GFCI outlet and leaves a spare switched outlet available for me to plug in my “trouble light”.   I then ran conduit out of that box and across the ceiling to another outlet box for my second light.  That second outlet does not need a GFCI if you take its power from the load side of the first GFCI outlet.  Just put one of the "GFCI protected" stickers on the regular outlet cover if you do this.


Another type of light you can use is called a strip light.  It is designed for direct wiring and has no cord.

Strip Light.jpg

For this light you would not need a junction box of any kind as the strip light acts as one.  Use the appropriate knock-out in each light to run conduit, (or romex if code allows it – see my above post), directly from your light switch into the fluorescent fixture.  You can daisy chain out of the first fixture and in to the second if you want.  Both lights will run off the light switch.


As to the gauge of wire, the lights will not draw anywhere near 15 amps, but that is not the issue.  Wire gauge requirements are related to the circuit breaker protection for each circuit.  In this case, a 15 amp breaker requires a minimum of 14 gauge wire.


I hope this helps,


Posted 2011-12-13T16:33:06+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question