Fluorescent Starter Replacement

fluorescent lights in a ceiling
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25
What You'll Need
Step ladder
New starter

If you discover that an older model fluorescent light activated with a starter (or starters) is not working properly even though a new bulb has been installed, the problem is likely with the fluorescent starter. By following a few steps, you will find it fairly easy to repair or replace the component.

Step 1 - Assess Light

Determine whether the starter needs to be replaced by considering the manner in which the light works. If the light fails to work at all, the problem is likely a broken or blown bulb and it will need to be replaced. However, if the light flickers, works intermittently or takes a long time to illuminate, then the issue is caused by the fluorescent starter and it will need to be replaced.

Step 2 - Inspect

a fluorescent light mounted to the ceiling

If you have retained the instruction documents that came with the light, begin by perusing this to better understand the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding a replacement. In addition, this should provide details of the required wattage of the fluorescent starter. If it is not available, you should be able to determine the wattage by examining the existing starter.

After switching off the light, position the step ladder slightly to one side of the light. If necessary, get someone to hold the ladder steady as you climb it to remove the light cover. This should be easily done by unhooking it from the top edge. Descend the ladder to store the cover safely before proceeding. You will then be in a position to check the wattage required.

Step 3 - Remove Bulb and Starter

Once you have the correct replacement fluorescent starter, you will need to start by removing the bulb to replace it. The bulb will usually need to be removed because the starter is located directly above it. If your light has more than one bulb, you will find that each one has its own starter to make it work.

Withdraw the bulb by twisting it out of the sockets at either end and descend the ladder to carefully lay it in a safe place where it cannot be stepped on or roll onto the floor. The cylinder-shaped starter will be positioned at one end of the light fixture. If necessary, adjust the position of the ladder to enable you to reach it comfortably. The starter can be twisted to remove it from its socket, which should be to the right, so twist and pull the starter to withdraw it completely.

Step 4 - Replace Starter and Bulb

The fluorescent starter that you removed can be discarded. Install the new starter by reversing the removal method, slotting the prongs in the sockets and twisting it into place. Make sure it is secure by lightly twisting it without removing it. Before replacing the bulb, take the opportunity to wipe it free of any dust that may have accumulated on the surface. Do the same with the inside of the cover. Replace the bulb and the cover before testing the light to ensure that it works.