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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…

Home Electrical Wiring Video

Hooking Up a Generator to the House Panel
Using a Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit
for Backup Power

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Fluorescent Light Fixture
[ad#block]Question: Why is our fluorescent light fixture dim?

Thanks in advance,

This electrical question came from: Dave, a Homeowner in Maine.

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

Dim Fluorescent Light Bulbs and Bad Lighting Ballast

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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.

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Dave's Guide to Home Electrical Wiring:

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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, Handy Women, 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
Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
with my Online Video Course:
Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

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.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

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

  2. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Mike,
    From what you have described, each 2 light fixture has 1 ballast. With fluorescent lights, if the lamps are allowed to burn out in the socket then there is a great chance that the ballast will need to be replaced along with the lamps. For more about repairing fluorescent light fixtures see this article:
    I hope this helps,

  3. 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.

  4. 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,