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Old 05-08-2011, 07:24 PM   #1
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Kitchen Fluorescent Slow to Light

For most of the year, the kitchen fluorescent light starts after throwing the switch. However, when the outside temperature rises above 85 or so and the attic area above the kitchen gets very warm, it can take over an hour before the lights come on. I'd appreciate any thoughts on what may be causing this and how to fix it. Thanks!


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Old 05-08-2011, 07:28 PM   #2
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High humidity.

Try removing the bulb(s), and wiping them down, cleaning off all the accumulated dust, oil, etc. See if that makes any difference.



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Old 05-08-2011, 07:55 PM   #3
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Are the flourescent tubes new? Do they have blackened areas at one end or the other of the glass tubes? Try changing both tubes for nice new fresh white tubes. If this doesn't instantly fix the problem you can change the ballast that is buried inside the fixture. Over periods of time a fixture that is used quite often will have a tube or the ballast age and start requiring more and more power to get the tubes to fire, whether in a cold or a warm enviroment. Also never leave a flourescent fixture turned on, but dark as in no light from the tubes. The ballast will still consume power whether the lamps light or not and will get extremely warm or even hot to the point of becoming a fire haszard.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:24 AM   #4
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Buy a new fixture.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:14 PM   #5
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Thanks, good point about not leaving the fixture on when the tubes don't light. The tubes are new, but the ballast is not. Maybe I should just replace the fixture ($50) rather than just the ballast ($20-30)?

Do you think the fact that this only occurs when it's hot outside and the attic above the fixture gets very warm has anything to do with the problem? Can heat affect the ballast's ability to turn on? This never occurs when the temperature is not very high.

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Old 05-10-2011, 07:10 AM   #6
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Heat can effect the performance of fluorescent lighting however the normal problem is the temperature being too cold.

In cold weather the electrons move more slowly from one emitter to the other as a result the phosphor takes longer to "heat up".

In this case it could be the starter/igniter which contains a bi-metallic strip - this would be effected by the high temperature.

Back in the UK we have electric starters which use solid circuitry and do away with the need for the thermal bi-metalic switch.

I'd say buy a new fluorescent fitting with electronic flicker-free ballasts it'll last longer and work in all temperatures.


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