How to Fix a Fluorescent Light

Updated: Jul. 05, 2024

Cure flickering fluorescent lights in minutes

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Older fluorescent light fixtures that flicker or only light up part way may just need a new starter, which is a less expensive repair than a bulb. You'll find replacement starters at any hardware store.

Materials Required

  • Fluorescent starter
The starter is located on the lamp frame (there are typically two starters). When you turn on the light switch, the starter sends a jolt of electricity to the gas inside the fluorescent bulb. The ionized gas then conducts electricity and the bulb lights. When the starter stops working, the bulbs will either keep flickering without lighting or will only glow in the ends. (Flickering can also indicate the bulb needs replacing, but try the less expensive starter first.)Note: Most ballasts manufactured within the last 10 years or so don’t need starters. Newer technology in electronic ballasts allows the lamps to light without them.

Project step-by-step (2)

Step 1

Take Out the Old Starter

Replacing the starters is quick and easy—they simply twist in and out. The starter is located on the lamp frame (there are typically two starters). Turn off the power to the light fixture, then take out the old starter by pushing it in and turning it counterclockwise. Take the old starter to the store so you can get the right replacement— there are a number of different types.

Step 2

Insert the New Starters

To solve your flickering fluorescent light problems, insert the new starter and twist it into place.