How to Replace a Broken CFL Ballast

A fluorescent light.
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-30
What You'll Need
Step ladder

The compact fluorescent lamp or CFL ballast is an essential element of a fluorescent light. In fact, it is the component that actually makes your light bulb work. A CFL ballast is electronic, and when the ballast begins to deteriorate, there will usually be warning signs that let you know your ballast is beginning to go bad. Your light bulb will begin to flicker on and off, or the fixture will become noisy. In either case, replacing the ballast is not difficult, and you can easily do it by following the steps below.

Step 1 - Make Preparations

Replacing the ballast will be fairly easy, especially if you have a helper to assist you. In replacing your ballast, you will need a stepladder to reach it. To maintain safety, make sure the ladder is level and is placed in a secure position.

Step 2 - Turn Off Power

This advice may sound like a no brainer, but turning off your power is easy to forget. Before you begin working on your light. You'll need to turn off the power at the circuit breaker panel. But, first, if the light you are working on illuminates, turn it on, then locate the circuit breaker that turns off the electricity to the light you will be working on. Flip the switch to the "off" position, then return to your light to be sure it is off. If it is, use a piece of tape to secure the switch on the circuit breaker panel to the “off” position. Leave a note on the panel cautioning anyone who sees it to avoid turning the power on.

Step 3 - Remove the Light Bulb

Carefully remove the CFL bulbs in the fixture. These bulbs are fragile and easily broken.

Step 4 - Remove Panel Cover

On your light fixture you will find a cover panel secured by two cap screws. Unscrew them and remove the cover panel.

Step 5 - Test the Fixture Wires for Electrical Current

Before touching the wires in your ballast, use a multi-meter and test them to be sure there is no current running through them. If your tester shows a current, do not proceed until you have successfully disconnected the power.

Step 6 - Disconnect the Ballast Wires

When you're sure the power is turned off, disconnect the wires from the old ballast by unscrewing the wire nuts that secure the wire ends.

Step 7 - Replace the Old Ballast

Unscrew the cap nut and remove the old ballast. Hold the new ballast in place, and attach it to the fixture. Then connect the ballast wires to your new ballast as they were connected to the old one, using the wire nuts from the old wires. Match the color of the fixture wires with colors of the ballast wires.

Step 8 - Finish the Replacement

Put the cover plate back on the fixture and screw in your light bulb. You can now turn the power back on at the circuit breaker panel and turn on the light to make sure that your fixture is working properly.