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Question DetailsAsked on 1/3/2014

How much should it cost to change out a ballast in a T8 two-lamp 120V residential fluorescent light fixture?

I several "cloud"" fluorescent light fixtures in my house. One no longer lights at all. The second is very dim but both lamps are lit, and the third will only light one of the two bulbs. I've changed out the bulbs with new ones, but the problem still exists. The light fixtures are about 7 or 8 years old. I'm thinking the ballasts need to be replaced.

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I presume you have checked the bulb types match the fixture - there are now three types of bulbs with the same ends that will fit different types of fixtures (T8 and T12 are the commonly available ones - don't remember the other type offhand, which is used in industrial applications) - use the wrong bulb type and they will either burn out prematurely, or fail to light fully. Also, some bulb brands are designed for use in only magnetic ballasts, and some only in electronic - which can also cause your problem. I am guessing offhand you might have this mismatch problem - check label on fixture and ballast, then check bulb manufacturer specs on type of ballasts acceptable for the bulbs you have. This actually sounds like it might be your problem, especially since ballasts typically last 20 or more years.

A replacement ballast costs about $10-25 depending on capacity and brand. The bite is that an electrician trip charge (which includes 30 or 60 minutes work) is going to be $75-150 probably - for about 5 minutes work on each light fixture.

If these are ceiling flush mount fixtures (as opposed to recessed or trougher type), which is what it sounds like your case is, you may well be able to buy new ones and install them yourselves as cheap as buying a replacement ballast - or take this chance to change light fixture if you want - and avoid the electrician charge totally. New fixtures also commonly come with bulbs too - making them respectively cheaper. In fact, for some plain fixtures like 4 foot shop lights, a new fixture with bulbs can be cheaper at a box store than just two bulbs alone.

This assumes you have a nominal experience with using wire nuts to connect wires together, and you may need a second person to help hold the fixtures while you disconnect and reconnect them.

To see if it is the ballasts - move the currently working bulb around between all the light positions (with power off while changing out) - if it works where a bulb currently does not, then the ballast is almost certainly OK and the problem is bad or wrong type bulbs.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


what would it cost to change out a 1000 watt ballest in a light pole. the pole sets at 45 feet in the air.

Answered 1 year ago by jbode

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