Just about everyone knows the familiar glow of fluorescent tube lights. You’ll find them in all kinds of homes in the Baltimore area, whether they’re illuminating garages, basements, workshops or even the occasional crawl space or attic. As commonly as fluorescent lighting is used in those types of utility spaces, perhaps just as common are the problems that can come with fluorescent lighting in terms of reliability and efficiency.
This is especially true for older lighting installations and is something that you should definitely be aware of if your home is more than a couple of decades old In particular, the magnetic ballast is a key component of older fluorescent lighting systems and is one common point of failure that can prevent you from having the light you need when you hit the switch or pull the cord.
What a magnetic light ballast does
The magnetic ballast for a fluorescent lighting system, which is sometimes called the control gear, is a small part of the lighting unit or box. It ensures that the amount of electricity going to the bulbs is both enough to turn on the tubes and keep them running at a safe and efficient voltage.
Since most fluorescent bulbs produce light by heating mercury gas, the ballast keeps the amount of electricity going to the bulbs in check so that the mercury gas stays at a safe and stable temperature. If the ballast wears out and fails to regulate the flow of electricity, the mercury gas inside each bulb could overheat and burn or even start a fire.
Signs your fluorescent light fixture ballast is failing
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to spot when a magnetic ballast is failing, so you can prevent any fire risk in plenty of time to have a licensed professional electrician in Baltimore remedy the issue. Here are a few telltale signs that a fluorescent light ballast has failed or is on its way to failing:.
- Light bulbs controlled by the magnetic ballast are taking longer to start and illuminate
- You hear a buzzing noise coming from the fluorescent light fixture
- The fluorescent bulbs flicker, are dim or provide uneven light
Options for replacing magnetic ballasts for fluorescent bulbs
As with most lighting and electrical systems inside any home, the technology used in modern equipment is far superior to the hardware used decades ago. The same is true for lighting ballasts and most contractors and electricians now recommend using electronic ballasts instead of magnetic ballasts. Electronic ballasts are both more reliable and more efficient, so you may also save some money on your BGE bill by switching.
Taking the replacement idea even further, many homeowners in Baltimore are opting to remove fluorescent lighting from their homes entirely and are choosing modern LED fixtures instead. LED fixtures are the most efficient systems currently available and some even offer smart-home features such as color tuning, dimming and scheduling.
While which direction you go is entirely up to you, we believe that the safest and most surefire way to fix your lights’ magnetic ballast is to hire a top-rated electrician in Baltimore to handle the job. As noted earlier, the combination of electricity and mercury gas involved in fluorescent lighting fixtures warrants the work of an experienced pro
Simply Click here or call 410-276-3420 to get in touch with the trusted and Simply highly rated team at Milton Electric. We’ve been helping provide solutions to homeowners and businesses in the Baltimore area for nearly 75 years and we’re ready to help your space shine in its best light.