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Fluorescent Lighting Troubleshooting Tips

by Chris Johnson

Troubleshoot

Having issues with your fluorescent light fixtures? Maybe one of these troubleshooting tips will help.

Fixture Hums

  • Verify that the ballast is securely fastened to the fluorescent fixture housing and that the housing is securely fastened to the ceiling or wall.
  • Verify that the fixture is electrically grounded properly. This means that the green wire inside the fluorescent lighting fixture should be securely connected to the bare copper wire coming into the fluorescent light.
  • Allow the fluorescent lighting fixtures to remain on continuously for 48 to 78 hours. This will allow the ballasts to "season" properly.

Lamps Will Not Operate

  • Make certain that all of the fluorescent lamps are properly seated in each of their sockets. This means that both pins at both ends of each lamp are engaged entirely inside its socket and that the lamp has been rotated exactly 90 degrees so that a mark on the lamp lines up with the opening on the fluorescent light fixture's socket.
  • Replace any defective light bulbs. Defective lamps are often blackened near their ends.
  • Verify that the fluorescent lighting fixtures are wired correctly, which means that like colored wires are connected to each other (the black wires are connected to black wires, white wires are connected to white wires, and so on). Occasionally, some wire connections break off inside the wire nut, which can cause an open circuit.
  • Verify that the ballast has a voltage rating that is the same as the voltage of the building.
  • Use a multi-meter to verify that the ballast is receiving the correct amount of input voltage.
  • The ballast may need to be replaced.

Lamps Blink, Flicker, or "Snake"

  • Turn the fluorescent lighting fixture on and off several times at 30-minute intervals.
  • Check the ambient temperature around the fluorescent fixture and, if needed, change the ballast to one that is rated for conditions below 50°F.
  • Verify that a ceiling fan or the air conditioning system is not blowing cool air across the lamps.
  • Allow the fluorescent light fixture to remain on continuously for 24 to 48 hours, which will allow the lamps to "season" properly.
  • Check to be certain that all of the wiring connections (splices) are secure and tight. Occasionally, some wire connections break off inside the wire nut, which can cause a poor electrical connection.
  • Use a multi-meter to verify that the ballast is receiving a constant amount of input voltage.

I hope these help. Good luck!

 

Written by Chris Johnson



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