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Lighting Repair: How To Replace A Light Ballast

Electric ballast

Have you noticed that one of your fluorescent light fixtures is flickering or producing a buzzing sound? It’s time to do some minor lighting repair.

Here are the steps to replacing a light ballast:

Before you start, unplug the light fixture or flip off the circuit breaker. Get a new ballast, screwdriver, nut driver, wire cutters or strippers, and wire connectors ready.

Disassemble the light fixture.

Remove the fixture cover. Unscrew the bulb. Be careful when handling fluorescent light bulbs as they contain some amount of mercury, which can be harmful to children and pets. Uncover the ballast compartment to reveal the ballast and the internal wiring. Ballast compartments may be attached with clips or with nuts.

Cut the fluorescent ballast wiring.

With the ballast compartment open, you’ll find four to eight wires connected to the ballast. Use wire snips or side-cutting pliers to cut all the ballast wiring a few inches from the end of the ballast.

Remove the ballast.

Take out the faulty fluorescent ballast by unscrewing the mounting nuts around it. Keep a hand on the old ballast to keep it from dropping out when the nuts are unscrewed.

Replace the ballast.

Make sure that your new ballast matches the old one. Put in the new ballast. Strip the wires back about half an inch. Use twist-wire connectors to connect the wires. Replace the ballast compartment cover and reassemble the light fixture.

Easy peasy and the newly repaired fluorescent light fixture should be good for another decade.