You Are At: AllSands Home > Howto > Fluorescent light fixture problems
Fluorescent bulbs generate four times the amount of a regular bulb. They are bright and efficient, which means you should have very few problems with a fluorescent light. But, from time to time, there will be a small problem. Here is a list of common problem, and how to fix them. Make sure you turn off the power before beginning any repairs.

1. Bulb won't light

First make sure the bulb isn't burned out. Like a regular bulb it will color when burnt out. Then check the wall switch. Make sure there is no blown fuse. If that checks out, clean the ends of the bulb, on the pins. Then put it back in place and see if it turns on. If not, you have a problem with the starter or ballast. You won't be able to tell which is broken, so replace the starter first. A ballast is expensive to replace. If the ballast is broken, you might want to consider buying an entire new fixture.

2. Light flickers

Cold temperature can cause a light to flicker. If it is not cold, or you have had the light on a long time, and it still flickers, replace the bulb. If the bulb flickers, it could overheat the ballast. A new bulb might flicker when you first put it in. Leave it in for several hours. If it still flickers, the ballast might already have been overheated. Replace the ballast, or buy a new fixture.

3. Light blinks on and off

Blinking simply means the bulb is about to die. Go ahead and replace it. If it is a new bulb, you might have a band connection between the pins and socket. Clean the pins and return the bulb to the socket.

4. Bulbs burn out fast

If you turn this light on and off frequently, the bulbs will burn out fast. Replace the bulbs, and try to leave the light on for longer periods.

5. Ends of bulb are discolored

Gray rings at the end are normal. If they are black, the bulb is old and burnt out. Replace it with a new one. If the bulbs turn black fast, see number 4.

6. Fixture hums

A fluorescent light will hum, but you can buy an A-rated model, which is the quietest of lights. If the noise is accompanied with a strong smell, the ballast is defective and needs to be replaced.