How Do I Change a Ballast?


Quick Answer

If fluorescent lights begin to buzz and flicker, the ballast is often the problem and replacing it eliminates these occurrences. Replacement ballasts are available at most hardware stores; however, they are often expensive, so consider replacing the entire fixture.

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Full Answer

  1. Cut the power

    If the light plugs into an outlet, remove the plug. Turn off the circuit breaker to disconnect the power from hard-wired lights.

  2. Access the ballast

    Remove the diffuser cover, the fluorescent tube and the ballast cover. Manufacturers use different methods of attaching both covers; some snap on and off while others require removing the screws for access.

  3. Cut the cords

    Once the ballast is exposed, notice several wires connected to it. Use side-cutting wire cutters to snip each wire. Use a wire stripper to expose 1/2 inch of each wire not attached to the ballast.

  4. Remove the ballast

    Remove the bolt that holds the ballast in place. Pull it down at an angle, and slide it out. Insert the new ballast by sliding it back into the slot, and attach the bolts.

  5. Connect the power

    Use wire nuts to attach each of the cords from the fixture to the same colored cords on the new ballast. Replace the ballast cover, the light tubes and the light diffuser. Restore the power, and test the finished product.

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