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Problems with Fluorescent Strip Lights Overheating

Updated July 19, 2017

Fluorescent lighting is a highly efficient way to light a home, office or a classroom. Due to the cost and energy savings over incandescent light bulbs, fluorescent strip lighting is often part of institutional lighting. In fluorescent strip lighting, long lighting tubes are attached by the prongs to the tube socket. A ballast starts and controls the current to the fluorescent lamp, and this is where many overheating problems begin.

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Ballast Failure

Fluorescent lamp ballasts can fail. When the part of the lamp that controls the current fails, this can lead to overheating. A modern magnetic ballast will generally have a sensor that will automatically turn the ballast off if it overheats. However, older fluorescent strip lights may not have a sensor. Also, there are a few instances in which any strip light will fail.

Overheating of Lights With No Sensor

An older fluorescent light has many chances to overheat, because these lights may not have sensors. By using the wrong tubes, by operating the light at a very high or low temperature, or simply by leaving a burnt-out lamp in the tube, you can cause the ballast to overheat. If you have a fluorescent light that turns off and on regularly, the ballast may be failing and you should examine it.

Causes of Overheating of Any Fluorescent Light

A modern fluorescent light should have a mechanism that prevents fires from overheating. However, if there is a wiring problem coming in to the light, the light can still fail and overheat. A power surge can also lead to failure and overheating. Incorrect wiring in the ballast due to a defective part can also cause the ballast to overheat.

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About the Author

Anise Hunter began writing in 2005, focusing on the environment, gardening, education and parenting. She has published in print and online for "Green Teacher," Justmeans and Neutral Existence. Hunter has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Resource Management in environmental science from Simon Fraser University.

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