Electrician Training Electrical Certification wiring recessed light fixtures Electrical Wiring Electrical Troubleshooting and Electrical Repairs wire outdoor light fixture Home Electrical Wiring Diagrams
wiring home generator and transfer switch wiring a 220 volt range cord outlet Wiring for GFCI Outlets Wiring Outlets and a Switched Outlet Wiring and Installing Ceiling Fans and Remote Controls wire dimmer switch wiring diagrams for switches wiring a dryer cord and 220 outlet circuit breaker panel
Electrical Wire and Cable

Why Fluorescent Lamps May Not Be Bright

My kitchen fluorescent lights have dimmed down to the point where we can barely see that there’s electricity even getting to them…

Understanding Fluorescent Light Fixtures
Question: My kitchen lights have dimmed down to the point where we can barely see that there’s electricity even getting to them. The bulbs are fluorescent. At first, only one bulb dimmed out, then a day or so later the other went. They are both operated by the same switch.

We tried other bulbs, but they are all dim in those sockets. There are no new power loads in the house to blame for the dimming. They just stay dim all the time. No other circuits in the house are doing this.

Thanks in advance,

This electrical question came from: Dave, a Homeowner from Waterford, Maine.
See more about Home Wiring for Maine

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

Dim Fluorescent Light Bulbs and Bad Lighting Ballast

Dave, fluorescent light bulbs that are allowed to burn out in the socket can actually cause the ballast to burn out and need replacing. If fluorescent lamps start to burn out or flicker, then it is time to replace them, and always replace both lamps as a pair for a longer lasting ballast.

The Following links will assist you with your electrical question:

Lighting for the Home
recessed lighting

Planning and Installing Home Lighting

Home lighting articles covering recessed lighting, under cabinet lighting, lighting terminology and more.

For more information about Troubleshooting
Repair Electrical Wiring

Troubleshooting and Repairing Electrical Wiring

Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.

  electrical wiring  

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

More articles about Fluorescent, Magnetic Ballasts and Home Electrical Wiring:
« Previous Next »
Electrical Wiring for Ceiling Fan Switches Electrical Wiring for Trailer Home Bedroom Light

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

4 Responses to “Why Fluorescent Lamps May Not Be Bright”
  1. Avery says:

    None of the 4 fluorescent bulbs were working in my light fixture so I replaced both ballasts, and put the same bulbs back in. When I turned on the fixture the lamps glowed dim. Did I ruin the ballast by putting the same bulbs back in for less than five minutes? I put four new bulbs in the fixture but they are still dim.

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Avery,
      Installing the original lamps with new ballasts for a short time should not have caused the ballasts to be ruined. Double check all of the wiring connections to make sure they are correct and the lamps are properly installed.
      I hope this helps to get your light fixture working,

  2. Mike Heffernan says:

    My kitchen fluorescent light has 8 F40 T12’s in them. I replaced all the bulbs. When I turned them on 4 were working right and 4 are just dim and stay dim. No flickering. There are 2 sides with 4 bulbs on each side that have 4 different fixtures. Each fixture has 2 bulbs. Does each separate fixture have a ballast, or are there 2 ballast for all 4?

    Confused in Spring,Texas Mike.
    Thank you in advance.

You must be logged in to post a comment.