How to Change a Starter in a Fluorescent Light Fixture

Updated February 21, 2017

Fluorescent lights require ballasts to regulate the electricity needed to activate the gas inside the fluorescent tube and produce light. Older fixtures use ballasts that require starters to preheat the tubes prior to the ballast taking over and keeping the tubes lit. Starters can fail and need replacing for the fixture to continue to work. Verify the wattage of the replacement starter to confirm it matches the wattage for the original starter and fixture.

Turn off the power to the fluorescent light fixture. Turn off the wall switch, or disconnect power by turning off the breaker inside the main breaker panel.

Remove the lens cover from the fixture. Twist the fluorescent light tubes clockwise or counterclockwise to release the tubes from the fluorescent sockets.

Twist the starter either clockwise or counterclockwise one quarter-turn to release it from the starter socket. Locate the starter along the centre of the fluorescent fixture. The starter is almost the same size in diameter as a quarter and is either white or silver.

Insert the replacement starter into the starter socket. Twist the starter one quarter-turn clockwise or counterclockwise to secure it in the fixture.

Replace the fluorescent light tubes in the fixture. Replace the lens cover over the tubes.

Turn the power on to your fluorescent fixture at the switch. Turn the breaker on if you disconnected the electricity at the main breaker panel.

Things You'll Need

  • Replacement starter
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About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.