How to Replace a Fluorescent Ballast

How to Replace a Fluorescent Ballast
  • Opening Intro -

    A fluorescent ballast is an ideal workroom or laundry room lighting fixture, providing much needed lighting in areas where space is at a premium.

    Such fixtures are fairly simple and can be replaced if evidence of failure has been found.

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Fix a ballast with your household tools.

Once you determine a bulb hasn’t blown or a fuse has been tripped, replacing your ballast can be accomplished in less than 30 minutes, using tools you already own.

1. Cut the power from your home’s service panel. Return to the ballast, removing the diffuser, the fluorescent tube and the cover plate. Store or carefully dispose of a burnt out tube.

2. Remove the sockets from the ballast housing by removing the mounting screws. Some ballasts are designed so that you can slide the sockets out; others require you to life the socket out.

3. Use a combination tool to disconnect the wiring. A linesman tool can also be used.

4. With a screwdriver or ratchet wrench remove the ballast. Use two hands as the ballast may fall.

5. Replace the old ballast with one that has the same ratings. Drill new holes if necessary.

6. Attach the ballast wires to the socket wire using wire connectors. Screw in the terminal connections and reinstall the faceplate covering. Install a fluorescent bulb and the diffuser. Once done, head back to the circuit breaker panel and turn the appropriate connection switch back on.

Fluorescent Considerations

If you own an older ballast, it may come equipped with a starter, a cylindrical device that is typically located near a socket. If a tube is flickering, turn off the power and replace the starter first. What may initially appear to be a larger problem might simply be a worn starter. Replace same and turn the power back on.

When a fluorescent bulb burns out, it should always be replaced by one with the same wattage rating as the old one. You will need to insert the tube carefully to ensure that the pins slide fully into the sockets, before twisting slightly it toward or away from you. You’ll feel the bulb lock in place.

Take care when disposing of a fluorescent bulb. If broken, a small amount of mercury vapor is released and can be absorbed in your skin.

Resources

U.S. Department of Energy: How to Buy Energy-Efficient Fluorescent Ballasts — http://www1.eere.energy.gov/femp/pdfs/ballast.pdf

The Natural Handyman: Repairing and Troubleshooting Fluorescent Fixtures and Tubes — http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infelectrical/inffluor.html

The Family Handyman: How to Replace a Fluorescent Light Ballast — http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Projects/Electrical/Electrical-Repair/how-to-replace-a-fluorescent-light-ballast/View-All

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Last update on 2020-07-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".