How Do You Fix Humming Fluorescent Lights?

January 28, 2013 | 3:13 pm

In this series, our experts address some of the most common and helpful questions that we receive from customers and community members alike.  This month’s question focuses on when a geothermal system might be a good option for you.

In This Article: 

Question for Our Experts: How Do You Fix Humming Fluorescent Lights?

“I have a fluorescent light fixture that has begun to hum like crazy  – it’s very annoying.  I have made sure that the bulb is firmly in place, but it continues to hum.  What could this be, and what should I do about it?  Are there better lighting options than fluorescents?”

Our Experts’ Answers:

How to Stop Fluorescent Lights From Buzzing?

The Short Answer

Great question!  This is a common problem with fluorescents, especially with old-style fluorescent lighting.  Replacing both the ballast and the bulb (not just the bulb) often makes the irritating “buzzing” or “humming” noise go away.  However, if you are going to do some replacement or repair anyway, you should consider one of today’s modern lighting technologies, including more modern fluorescent fixtures or even LED lighting.  A Tuckey Mechanical Services electrical estimator can help you make the best decision for your home, office, or industrial plant.

How Do You Tell if the Ballast is Bad in a Fluorescent Light?

The Detailed Answer

This is a great question!  The fluorescent light uses a ballast (a circuit that limits electrical current flow) to operate; thus, it operates more efficiently than a standard “incandescent light bulb.”  However, the heat energy created by the ballast can sometimes cause loosening of brackets or other components in the light fixture, eventually causing a buzzing noise that can be very irritating.

Replacing the ballast and bulbs (not just the bulb) will normally quiet this down.

However, it is good to keep in mind that the lighting and electrical industry has seen a lot of change in recent years due to the cost of energy, so if the light is an older unit sometimes the proper parts cannot be obtained! You should also consider that it is oftentimes more expensive to “rebuild” an older light than it is to install a new replacement.

There are many alternatives to traditional or old-style fluorescent lighting in the industry today – most (if not all) of which would be more efficient than what you have installed right now.  For example, LED (light-emitting diode) lights are more expensive up-front, but have 50,000 hour life-expectancies – thus, they are much less costly to operate in the long-run.  Even newer-model fluorescent lights have electronic ballasts and newly-designed bulbs that make them much more efficient than older models.

Is a Buzzing Fluorescent Light Dangerous?

The Bottom Line

Replacement of both ballast and bulb will often remedy this “humming” or “buzzing” problem for older-style fluorescent lights.  However, it is very much worthwhile to consider replacing old-style fluorescents with more modern alternatives, like modern fluorescents or LED lighting.  This could potentially save significant amounts of energy and electricity costs in the long-run.  Call Tuckey Mechanical for help with making the best decision for your home or office.

Contact Tuckey Companies for Your Next Electrical Project 

If you have a new lighting project or if you simply want to make sure your home or office’s lighting is as energy-efficient as possible, a Tuckey Mechanical Services qualified electrical estimator can be a great help.  Give us a call at (717) 524-1136 or visit for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as a reference guide only. A qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies should handle all interior design, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, remodeling, metal fabrication, and restoration projects. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies.

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