Would bad ballast cause other lights to flicker?

littleriverbbJanuary 14, 2014

I am at my Mom's house and she is having a problem with lights on one breaker flickering. The house is about 60 years old and the lights that are flickering include incandescent bulbs and a 2-tube fluorescent fixture. She first noticed the problem a few weeks ago (the hallway and bathroom lights with incandescent bulbs flickered), but we couldn't replicate it. Today, however, she showed me that the fluorescent fixture in her kitchen wouldn't fully light (had spiral flickering along the tubes). We tried changing the bulbs, but the new bulbs also flickered. I looked at the ballast and it looks like it has oil/grease on it so I am assuming it is bad. The question is, would the bad ballast on the fluorescent fixture cause the incandescent bulbs in other fixtures on the same breaker to flicker?

I have contacted another family member on a recommendation for an electrician we can call, but in the meantime I am wondering if anyone has any insight on this.


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Ron Natalie

I guess anything is possible. Do the other lights flicker when the fixture in the kitchen is turned off?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 8:32AM
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That is a good suggestion from ronnatalie. Careful handling the ballast, it might contain PCBs. You can do it yourself, but read up on what kind of gloves to wear (not latex) and how to recognize hazard.

As long as the luminaire is good, the electrician can simply trade out the old ballast for a new T8 ballast and install new T8 lamps. If the current set-up is instant-start, you might want to consider changing the sockets too. That way the electrician can install a good program-start ballast for longer lamp life.

It is really not difficult to DIY. You just need to understand a couple of wiring diagrams. If you can understand the one on the current ballast, you can change it.

Let us know how this plays out!

This post was edited by ionized on Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 15:35

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 3:30PM
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Hi, OP here with an update...

With regard to ronnatalie's question... yes, it did seem that one of the other light fixtures on the same breaker had some trouble even when the fluorescent light in the kitchen was off. Not quite a flicker, but the bulb (an incandescent, NOT a CFL) was slow to turn on (had previously tried changing the bulb and that didn't help).

But now, here's the update... my nephew came over and replaced the ballast on the kitchen fixture and that definitely seems to have helped. I don't know for sure yet if it has fixed all of the "flickering" since I haven't been over to the house myself to test out some of what I had observed (I live about 2 1/2 hours away), but I am hoping that all will be good when I get there next time. If not, I'll post another update.

Thanks for your thoughts!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:43PM
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OP here again... Was just at my Mom's house and was able to view the (former) light flickering situation for myself. So far, it seems like all is good now that the ballast was changed... even the slow-to-turn-on light fixture in the bathroom! (And I sure hope it all stays that way... at least for a while.)

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 4:34PM
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