How to fix flickering fluorescent lights (5 Proven Ways)

Fluorescent lights are tube-like and appear bright inside the tube. In case you notice the flickering effect, then it simply means there is a problem. The flickering in the fluorescent lights can give one eye discomfort. In other instances, it may cause migraines and even headaches.  

When the flickering effect continues, the bulb can sometimes become dark. However, this should not worry you as you can easily fix the problem on your own.

In this article, I will take you through some of the easy steps to follow. You will find out they are simple steps that require less technical skills. Once you know the cause of the flickering effect in fluorescent lights, you can resolve the problem on your own. You can get a technician to guide you if you find it difficult. This is because some may be scared to fix the problem on their own.

What causes the flickering in fluorescent lights?

1. Too much coldness

Coldness, especially during the winter period, will cause the flickering in fluorescent lights. You can easily prevent the flickering effect due to coldness by an electronic ballast. In addition, the electronic ballast is capable of withstanding high temperatures.

2. Faulty starter

Once the starter is defective, flickering can occur in fluorescent lights. The starter is a small metallic cylinder positioned to the light fixture. When the switch is turned on, the starter sends out the lighting in the fluorescent lights. When there is a delay, during this process, flickering occurs in the fluorescent lights.

How to fix flickering fluorescent lights

Tips to fix flickering fluorescent lights

1) Replace the starter

Replacing the starter in fluorescent lights will help stop the flickering effect. Replacing the starter is more cost-effective as compared to replacing the bulb.  The fluorescent light has only two starters. They are located on the frame of the lamp. It would be best if you only replaced the faulty starters with new ones. This is because once the starter stop is functioning, the bulb will flicker without lighting.

Easy steps to follow during replacement;

I. Remove the old starter from the fluorescent lights. Ensure you have already turned off the main switch. You can easily remove it by pushing it in then twisting it clockwise.

II. Please insert the new starters by twisting them in place. Then turn on the bulb to see whether the switch problem has been fully solved.

2)    Replace the ballast


Try replacing faulty ballast with a new one.  You can easily notice whether the ballast is the problem when the flickering comes with a buzzing noise. Ballasts, in most cases, become damaged due to wear and tear. Extreme heat or even cold make the ballast develop some problems. Corrosion can also be caused when there is condensation in the ballast. This makes it overwork, developing some faultiness. Since replacing ballast is a bit more expensive, investigate whether the ballast is the main cause of flickering.

You can easily confirm whether the ballast is properly mounted. Also, check whether the buzzing can also be contributed by nearby walls or ceiling. Ballast supplies the bulb with the required voltage enabling the bulb to light up. It also regulates the amount of current passing through the bulb. If the flickering is caused by damaged ballast, then consider replacing it.

Easy steps to fix faulty ballast;

  • First, start by turning off the main switch.
  • Remove the fluorescent lights from the tube. The ballast is positioned behind the bulb or in other cases between the bulb IN fitting with more than one tube.
  • Then remove the ballast from the cover using a screwdriver. You will be able to see the ballast in a rectangular-shaped box which is either black or grey.
  • Access the wire connection to check whether they are properly connected. If the wires are properly connected, then the problem is resulting from the ballast.
  • Check the measurements of your ballast since they come in different sizes and shapes. This will make you replace it with the exact shape and size. You can also carry along with you the old ballast in the stores to check the correct one.
  • Once you get the exact shape and size, replace it with the old one. The wiring diagram in the ballast will aid you during the replacement process.

Always be careful when replacing the ballast since many of them come with different guidelines regarding a replacement. Ensure that the fluorescent lights you are using are compatible with the ballast.  You can avoid the risk of electrocution by contacting an electrician for help. Seek help if you are not sure how to go about the entire process.

3)    Try checking the power supply to the bulb

Try checking if the fuse is functioning properly. Confirm whether it has tripped the power supply. A blown fuse can cause flickering in the fluorescent lights. 

Use this procedure to test the tube for power supply

I. Turn off the main switch to the bulb.

II. Twist the bulb to 90 degrees until it stops turning. Afterward, slide the tube downwards.

III. Next, check both sides of the tube for any darkened glass. If you see any darkened glass on the ends, then the tube needs to be changed.

IV. If the bulb color is okay, try fixing it in another fitting to confirm it is working.

V. If the bulb does not light, then replacement is required.

4)    Use enclosed light fixtures

An enclosed light fixture will help insulate the bulb during cold seasons. If the air around the fluorescent lights is cold, then the flickering sound will be generated. This is because the bulb will not be able to generate enough heat to function properly. The required temperature for the fluorescent lights should be 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures that it functions properly. 

5)    Check if the lump used in the fitting is the correct one

The use of an incorrect lamp could cause flickering from the fluorescent lights. Always ensure the size of the lamp suits the fitting. Be keen when buying the lamps. It is always advisable to consult an expert on the best lamp size to use.

Do not be in a hurry when buying the lamps. They should always be compatible with the fitting blast. You can even ask your dealer for guidance or consult your friends who have similar fittings.

Precaution measures to take when fixing flickering in fluorescent lights


I. Always wear protective eye specs and gloves. This will protect you from any minor injuries in the process.

II. Do not use excessive lights when flickering fluorescent lights. This is because you may end up damaging the entire fitting.

III. Always ensure you use the correct size and shape of ballast. This is when you are replacing the ballast. Also, ensure you get the right lump size for fluorescent lights.

IV. Be careful when accessing fitting on a high-level ceiling. Ensure you use the ladders and scaffolds properly and are keener to avoid falling.

V. If you can fix the problem on your own, contact an expert. This is because you may end up damaging the entire system or even harming yourself.

VI. Turn off the main switch before you begin the process. Ensure no current is running in the fixture. This will help prevent the occurrence of any electrocution.

VII. Dispose of the old fixture properly. Make sure the old ballasts and starters are disposed of in the right way. This will prevent any injuries.

VIII. Ensure you have all the necessary tools in place before you begin the process.

Frequently Asked Questions on fixing flickering fluorescent lights;

a)    What causes the flickering in my fluorescent lights?

Flickering in fluorescent lights is caused by many issues. Some of the causes are a faulty starter or even the ballast. The coldness also causes flickering in light bulbs.  Blown fuses as well contribute to the flickering sound in the fluorescent lights.

b)    Can I fix flickering fluorescent lights?

Yes, you can fix the problem easily on your own. Once you follow the outlined procure carefully, you can resolve the problem.  First, you need to know the cause of the problem to fix the flickering in the fluorescent lights. If you find it challenging to fix the problem, you can consult an expert for help.

c)     How do I know the size and shape of the ballast for replacement?

You can easily know the shape and size of the ballast by consulting an expert. Then, carry our old ballast to the dealer to determine the size and shape for replacement.


In conclusion, there are innumerable ways to fix flickering in fluorescent lights. The above article clearly illustrates some of the ways to fix a flickering fluorescent light. Less technical skills are required in the process. However, be careful when fixing the problem to avoid damaging the entire fitting. First, get to know the cause of the flickering before fixing the problem.

In case you cannot fix the flickering effect on your own, get help from an expert. Get the most experienced, a reputable specialist. This is because an experienced technician has all the necessary skills to fix the problem. An inexperienced one will end up tampering with the entire fitting. This will make you incur unnecessary expenses.

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