How to Fix a Fluorescent Kitchen Light

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If your fluorescent kitchen light is not working, it is most likely because of a faulty ballast or, if the light fixture is older, a faulty starter. Before repairing your light, check the fluorescent light tube ends to see whether they are darkened. This would be a good time to replace the light tubes if they are discolored.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire strippers
  • Replacement ballast or starter
  • Plastic wire nuts
  • Disconnect the power supply to the fluorescent fixture. The circuit breaker to the fixture will be in your home's electrical panel.

  • Remove the cover to the light fixture. Most fluorescent fixtures have a cover that simply pulls off.

  • Grasp the fluorescent light tube at each end with your fingers and twist the tube down. This will disconnect the electrode tip closest to you. Continue maneuvering the fluorescent light tube out of the light socket and set it out of the way.

  • Locate the starter on your fixture, if it has one. Most new fluorescent light fixtures do not have a starter. Older ones, on the other hand, have a small cylinder that plugs into one of the tube holders.

  • Twist the starter counterclockwise a quarter-turn and remove it from the fixture. You can replace the starter, if you wish. This may fix the problem. If not, move on to the ballast.

  • Locate the metal cover on the ballast inside the light fixture. The cover can either be squeezed off or be removed by unscrewing four attaching screws with a screwdriver.

  • Use the cutting portion of wire strippers to clip the wires connected to the ballast. Clip the wires close to the ballast to be sure of having enough to reattach the new ballast.

  • Use a screwdriver to remove the mounting screws that secure the ballast to the fixture. Take the ballast with you to the hardware store to make sure that you purchase one that is identical.

  • Install the new ballast in the fixture by reattaching it with the securing screws. The new ballast will be prewired, so make sure the wires are accessible.

  • Use plastic wire nuts to connect the ballast wires with the wires from the fixture.

  • Reattach the ballast cover and install the starter, if necessary. Reinstall the fluorescent light tube and attach the light fixture cover.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always disconnect power from electrical components before attempting repairs.

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