Home Repair Tips – Fluorescent Light

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Electrical, Home repair    by: ITC

Fluorescent lights use less electricity and give off less heat than regular lights. They also last much longer and provide more light. Fluorescent light fixtures now being used include two basic types:

• Starter-type fluorescent tube The starter-type fluorescent fixture has a fixture ballast, starter, and the tube itself. Rapid- start fluorescent fixtures do not have a starter.

If a fluorescent light goes out, check the house fuse or circuit breaker first. If a light blinks on and off, tube and check that the pins on the ends are straight and clean. Straighten the pins with needle-nose pliers. Clean the pins with sandpaper and brush them clean.

In a starter-type system, it is most economical to replace the starter first. Some starters have a button to reset them manually. However, the most common type must be replaced. Turn off the electricity and remove the fluorescent tube. Turn the starter counterclockwise to remove it. Be sure the replacement starter has the same watts rating as the Old one. Most new model fixtures do not use starters anymore.

If replacing the starter doesn’t work, try a new tube. Sometimes the light from a new tube swirls and flickers. This is normal and will stop in a few hours.

Finally, if the light still does not work, replace the ballast—the most expensive part. Insulation tar leaking along the ballast indicates a faulty ballast. Be sure the ballast has the same rating as the old one. Replace the ballast carefully, one connection at a time. You may decide to replace the entire fixture for a little more than the cost of the ballast.

Noisy fixtures may have loose connections. A special low-noise ballast is also available to make the fixture quieter. Discoloration at the ends of the tubes is normal. If the ends of an old tube are very dark, the tube is worn out. A new tube that turns black indicates a bad starter.

Most fluorescent lights won’t work at temperatures below 50°F. If you need one for a cold area, such as a garage, you can buy a special cold-temperature fixture.

Screw-in types of fluorescent fixtures are also available. The entire fixture is screwed into a regular threaded light socket.

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