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Question DetailsAsked on 6/22/2011

Lights not working properly

I have two overhead fluorescence light fixtures that are not working properly. One in the kitchen ceiling and one in the laundry room. The light bulbs may take several minutes before they actually come on after the switch has been turned on. Sometimes the light bulbs will come on immediately, sometimes when I double flip the light switch they will come on when they did not come on initially, and sometimes you just have to wait a half hour or longer. These lighting fixtures are all over 10 years old. The kitchen light bulb is over 10 years old and U shaped and there are two straight bulbs in the laundry room. Those two bulbs have been replaced about 4 years ago. What is wrong and what should I do to fix it?

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2 Answers


We went to several highly rated electricians on Angie's List to get the answers to your questions. First, make sure that you are using the correct fluorescent bulb type for your fixtures. If it's an older fixture, it likely uses a T12 bulb. Newer, more energy efficient fixtures, use T8 bulbs. Next, check that the pins on each end of the bulbs are making contact with the socket. Not the problem? It could be time to replace your bulbs. A good indicator it's time to change the bulbs is if they get dark grey on the ends. I recommend the next time you change the bulbs, you change them all at the same time. If you can't or don't want to climb on a ladder to change light bulbs, consider hiring a reputable handyman to put them in for you. If changing the light bulbs still does not solve the problem, the issue is most likely with the ballast - a transformer in the light fixture that changes the voltage from 120 volts to the required voltage for fluorescent bulbs. If the ballast is wearing out, it could cause all of the symptoms you listed above. A qualified, licensed electrician can confirm this. If the ballast is the problem, it's probably time to purchase new light fixtures, which your electrician should install. Replacing just the ballasts in the existing fixtures could cost almost as much as a new fixture and take more time to install, plus keep in mind that if it uses the 40-watt T12 bulbs, those are being phased out in favor of the 32-watt T8's. Whether you hire a professional to help you or if you handle the lighting tubes yourself, please be very careful. They contain a small amount of mercury, which is difficult to properly dispose and can be dangerous if ingested, especially by children.

Answered 9 years ago by Angie's List


Check to make sure the fixture is grounded. Also ballast don't were out they either work or they don't.


Answered 9 years ago by wirewiz

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