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Tips for Replacing Fluorescent Bulbs

Updated: Jun. 10, 2019

They may look burned out, but don't get rid of them until the light goes bad

FH08SEP_REPBUL_01-2Family Handyman
Fluorescent bulbs can go for years without replacement—even when the ends start to blacken. Don't worry about them until the light they put out starts to weaken.

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Time to replace a bulb?

Black ends

Black ends don’t require immediate replacement. But you should have new bulbs on hand so you can replace them promptly when they do burn out.

Bulbs with black ends can run for a long time and they won’t damage your ballast at all. But you should have replacement bulbs on hand for the day when they begin flickering, take a long time to fire up or finally give up completely. That’s because running a fluorescent fixture with a burned-out bulb will damage the ballast.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Replacement bulb