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Fluorescent Lighting Problem and Repair Checklist

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Identify and Repair a Fluorescent Light Fixture: Troubleshooting Checklist for Repairing a Fluorescent Light Fixture

How to Identify and Repair Problems with Fluorescent Light Fixtures

Electrical Question: I have fluorescent lighting in my kitchen and I have been having issues getting the lights to turn on when it is humid out.

This is fluorescent light fixture is very frustrating!

I look forward to your response. Have a great night!

Additional Comments: Tons of information available for different things.
Background: Nicole, from Lehighton, Pa.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Nicole.

Troubleshooting Checklist  for Repairing a Fluorescent Light Fixture

  1. Lamp Pins and Sockets
    Make sure both pins of the lamps are in all the way in the sockets and the lamps have been rotated so the pins make connection with the socket contacts. At the base of each end of the lamp there are marks 180 degrees apart from each other which are indicators where one will point downward when the lamp is rotated into the correct position to make connection with the contacts in the sockets.
  2. Ring Around Lamp Base
    Make sure both lamps are in good condition and do not have dark rings around one end. One bad lamp can prevent the other lamp from starting.
  3. Damaged Sockets
    Check the lamp sockets. Lamp sockets can be damaged when a lamp is forced into place. If a lamp socket is cracked or broken then it will need to be replaced.
  4. Ground Wire
    The fluorescent fixture enclosure must be grounded. If the ground wire has not been attached to the fixture housing this can cause the lamps to lighten up very dimly.
  5. Fluorescent Light Ballast
    Never let fluorescent lamps burn out in the socket. This is a sure way of damaging the internal ballast which will require a new ballast and lamps, and a fixture ballast is the most expensive part which can cost around $20.00 dollars.
  6. Lamp Starter
    Some older fluorescent fixtures require starters that can go bad. A starter has the appearance of a small round silver can which is usually found at one end of the fixture. Starters can burn out and require replacing. They require a slight twist to remove or install them.
  7. Light Switch
    Every once and a while the wall switch may stop working and need replacing. Make sure to replace the wall switch with the same voltage and amperage as indicated on the original switch.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

5 Responses to “Fluorescent Lighting Problem and Repair Checklist”
  1. neil whittaker says:

    Hey, just another “easy” obvious one (I missed it) Just check the combined tube wattage does not exceed the ballast capacity. It also makes the tubes light for 3-5 seconds then go off.

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    The trouble could be any one of the seven in the list.

  3. nicole says:

    What are the troubles found in the fluorescent lamp?

  4. Dave Rongey says:

    What type of ballast is in the fixture, magnetic or electronic?
    Next, are the lamps that you are buying matched to the type of ballast that you have?
    Then – check to make sure the frame of the fixture is grounded using the incoming circuit ground wire.
    Lastly, make sure your lamps are being inserted correctly, and that both pins are entering each socket and twist the lamps about 90 degrees.

  5. shawn says:

    I have a question. I have a 110 florescent fixture in my kitchen. I can’t keep bulbs in it. I took the blown bulbs out and checked the voltage coming in with a simple little tester that indicates 110 or 220. The voltage coming in was 110. Well when I checked eacch receptical where the bulb slips into they were shgowing 220 except for one of the outlets. Confused. How can this be. Would appreciate some advice