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Tips for Replacing Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescent bulbs can go for years without replacement—even when the ends start to blacken. Don't worry about them until the light they put out starts to weaken.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Tips for Replacing Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescent bulbs can go for years without replacement—even when the ends start to blacken. Don't worry about them until the light they put out starts to weaken.

Time to replace a bulb?

Bulbs with black ends can run for a long time and they won't damage your ballast at all. But you should have replacement bulbs on hand for the day when they begin flickering, take a long time to fire up or finally give up completely. That's because running a fluorescent fixture with a burned-out bulb will damage the ballast.

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Required Materials for this Project

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    • Replacement bulbs

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February 15, 7:19 PM [GMT -5]

T8 lamps can be used in place of T12's if the wattage of the lamp and ballast agree, and the lamps start reliably. The T8's being smaller in diameter may be too far away from the metal (ground) for starting well.

January 27, 4:00 PM [GMT -5]

I have flo light fixtures in my garage/shop - some older than others. Are T8 and T12 bulbs interchangable in all fixtures, assuming length is correct?

January 26, 12:33 PM [GMT -5]

Good idea Joe, does anyone have any theories on extending the life of a fluorescent bulb or ballast by leaving it on for extended periods versus cycling it on/off for intermittent use?

I had installed a fluorescent light in my pantry with a door jamb mounted switch so the light turned on/off respective to the door opening/closing. The only problem was that the light bulb would burn out every 4-6 months. I've since replaced the fixture with incandescent lights and the bulbs have lasted over a year without the need for replacement!

Of course I can't wait for the price of LED's to drop and will soon go that route thus leaving fluorescent lights "in the dark", ha!

January 24, 8:31 PM [GMT -5]

One thing i always do when changing florescent bulbs in an effort to monitor the life of bulbs and ballasts is to write the date on the bulb in marker. Then screw it in so the written side is on top out of sight.
Joe
Corunna, Canada

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