The fluorescent lights used in kitchens, offices and other large spaces are often traditional tube lights, which use a ballast and starter. If the starter is worn out or the ballast is magnetic instead of electronic, it can increase the warm-up time for the light and cause flickering.
Traditional fluorescent lighting takes longer to turn on than newer compact fluorescent lamps (CFL's). The newer models have significantly improved warm-up time with the addition of an electronic ballast, which lights almost immediately.
Fluorescent lighting, particularly CFLs, is more efficient than incandescent lighting, which expends approximately 95 per cent of its energy as heat instead of light. The filament inside an incandescent light bulb can reach 2,482 degrees C . CFLs operate at approximately 37.8 degrees C, allowing them to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb with only a fraction of the energy.
Fluorescent lights, including tubes and CFLs, contain small amounts of mercury and should not be disposed of with regular garbage. Contact your local hazardous-waste collection site for instructions on where to take your used flourescent lights.