Replacing a Ballast for a Fluorescent Light Replacing a Ballast for a Fluorescent Light

What You'll Need
Ballast
Screwdriver
Wire nuts
Electrical Tape
Ladder

Occasionally you will need to replace ballast for a fluorescent light. When a fluorescent light does not work, the first repair you tend to make is to replace a fluorescent bulb. However, when new bulbs take an extended amount of time to light or never light up at all, then your ballast will likely need replacing. The ballast regulates the flow of electricity to the bulbs, and when it fails, they will not light properly. Replacing the ballast in a fluorescent light is a relatively easy process and need not be intimidating for even the most novice of do-it-yourselfers.

Use common safety precautions and turn off the power before beginning to work on replacing the ballast in a fluorescent light fixture.

Step 1 – Turn off Electricity

Turn off the electricity to the fixture at the power breaker box. Before starting to work on the fixture, flip the light switch to make sure the electricity is turned off.

Step 2 – Remove Cover

Climb on the ladder and remove the cover from the light fixture. Usually you can accomplish this by pushing both sides of the cover together to pop the cover free. Other fixtures require you to unscrew a fastener, and other covers must be unhooked from the edges. Use care, since the plastic covers break easily.

Step 3 – Remove Fluorescent Bulbs.

Turn the fluorescent bulb slightly to loosen it from the socket. It should slide out freely when  it is properly released. Gently set the bulb aside. Repeat for a second bulb, if there is a second bulb in the fixture. Fluorescent bulbs can explode, so put them in a safe place while  you complete the ballast repair.

Step 4 – Remove Metal Ballast Cover

In the light fixture, you will see a metal cover protruding into the light area. Remove it by pushing the sides of the metal cover together or unscrewing the screws, whichever is required on your fixture. Pull the metal cover down and remove it, laying it aside in a safe place.

Step 5 – Disconnect Wires

Snip the wires that hold the existing ballast into place. Cut them off close to the old ballast. Using a utility knife, strip the wires to expose about 1 ½ inches of bare wire.

Step 6 – Remove Ballast

Use the screwdriver to unscrew both of the side screws on the ballast. Remove the ballast and discard in the trash.

Step 7 – Install New Ballast

Place the new ballast in place of the old ballast.

Strip the ends of the wires on the ballast if they are not bare on the ends. Connect the wires, matching ground wires and black wires. Twist the wires together so that there is a complete connection. Put a wire nut over the wires and screw it on. Wrap electrical tape over the wire nut to secure.

After you have connected each of the wires, screw the ballast into place. Replace the metal cover over the ballast, and then reinstall the fluorescent bulbs. Finally, replace the light fixture cover.

Step 8 – Turn Power Back On

Turn the power back on to the fixture at the breaker box. Turn the switch on to see if the light works correctly.

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