Hot Topics: Hard to Remove Fluorescent Light

fluorescent light bulbs

A quarter-million contributors discuss 120+ topics on our DIY forums, so we highlight active threads to help with popular projects. Hope it helps!

Original Thread: Difficult-to-remove Lens from Fluorescent Fixture

cyberham - Member

I've seen this problem elsewhere, but I haven't found a solution. I need to remove the lens from my fluorescent light fixture so I can change the bulbs. It appears the only way to remove the lens would be to remove one of the end caps on the fixture so the lens could slide out. But I can't see any way to remove the end caps.

To remove them, it appears the force that would be required may be great enough to break them. I've never seen such a poor design for a simple device. I could post photos if that would help.

Gunguy45 - Super Moderator

Pics always help. Most times you just have to flex the clear cover over one side, then it comes right off.

cyberham - Thread Starter

The lens extends well into the end caps. There is no way sliding the lens either way and then flexing it would allow it to be removed.

fluorescent ceiling light

fluorescent ceiling light with green piece on side

czizzi - Member

Sometimes you get lucky and the whole frame w/lens lifts and can be jiggled loose. Otherwise, it is a game of angles and patience. Try to get one side as high as possible while pulling down on the other.

Do this after the light has been on for a while so the plastic lens is a little warmer and not as brittle. I've had success, I've also had to replace a couple that were less than cooperative.

goldstar - Member

My guess is that one or both end caps snaps on and can be removed by tapping it near the ceiling to pop it off the fixture. The lens would then slide out, giving you access to the tubes.

pcboss - Forum Topic Moderator

Try to slide the lens into one of the endcaps. It should drop out on the other end.

cyberham - Thread Starter

I'll try tapping one end cap off. So far I've only been trying to pry it off.

As I mentioned, sliding the lens fully into either end cap does not allow the opposite end of the lens to come anywhere near dropping down.

Added: goldstar wins! The plastic end caps are held to the fixture with two protruding tabs on each side of the end cap. Unfortunately, tapping lightly on one end broke these plastic tabs off. I don't care!

I now see the correct way is to press very firmly in on the end of the metal fixture to deform that area so these tabs would then clear the metal fixture's holes. With the end cap off, the lens slides out.

Nashkat1 - Member

Too bad you had to break the tabs off one end cap to learn the trick, but, glad you got it resolved, and thank you for the feedback.

cyberham - Thread Starter

New Tubes Installed

I installed a couple of new 6,000K daylight tubes and the area looks great now. So much so, I want to change the other two still working tubes in a nearby fixture. Fortunately, its lens has a ridge on each side that simply lifts up off the fixture. I'm an expert now!

Nashkat1 - Member

"I installed a couple of new 6,000K daylight tubes and the area looks great now."

I love those. I forget what was in our laundry room when we bought this house, but I immediately replaced whatever it was with two two-tube T-8 fixtures, one 4' and one 2', joined end-to-end, and installed 6,500K lamps (I think they are) in them. That's 120W of daylight right down the center of the room. If you don't see a spot on the clean clothes in that room, you sure won't see one somewhere else!

Hey! Go for it, expert!