florescent light blew a fuse

bibbus 7bMarch 14, 2014

For the past few weeks, my overhead florescent light fixture in the kitchen seemed to be failing - it flickered at times and hummed more than usual. After returning home from a trip this afternoon, some odd things happened. The lights and power in my house seemed to flicker and when plugging in a power cord, there was a big flicker and noise that sounded like a short somewhere. I turned the kitchen lights off when it was apparent there was a problem. Then the living room lights that must be on the same circuit started flickering too and then went out. Now none of the lights will turn on and I assume the circuit blew. I have not attempted to turn the power back on. Does this sound like a bad light fixture that just needs to be replaced or something worse? I don't really have an electrician that I use but I do have a handyman who could probably replace the light fixture.

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Are these symptoms also occurring at other places in the house? How many breakers tripped? How many fuses blew?
Some of the symptoms described could possibly indicate a very serious problem.
Your post indicates that you cannot repair this. So let me state the obvious: either the situation will remain as is or you will engage someone (hopefully competent) to deal with it.
So, are you working at the computer or are you contacting a competent repair person?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 7:51PM
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bibbus 7b

I am waiting till 9 AM to call my repair man. But to answer your question, I am seeing nothing else in other parts of the house. The light fixtures have black areas on the ends of the tubes. I can't figure out how to get the cover off the light fixtures and they are big, long fixtures so I'm not going to attempt it myself. But this morning I forgot and just flipped on the light switch and the light flickered for a few seconds before going dark again. So it must not have blown the circuit. I do realize how serious this could be and don't want a fire. Hopefully I can find an electrician.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 8:55AM
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It sounds like you need to replace some fluorescent light tubes.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 4:09PM
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Spend a few more minutes trying to get the cover off the light. It'll be at least $100 for an electrician to come over and swap out some tubes.

Try it again.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 8:17PM
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There is nothing to indicate that the problem with the kitchen light has anything to do with the subsequent problems. It might and it might not.

By itself, the kitchen light may need new lamps or a new ballast. Keep in mind that that a bad ballast can wreck new lamps very quickly.

What kind of "power cord" were you plugging in?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 2:15PM
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bibbus 7b

The electrician finally came this afternoon and it turned out to be something minor that could have been really bad. The guy who installed my lights several years ago did a bad job of wiring into the junction box and somehow started a little fire last Friday. It was an hour job to replace the wiring but thankfully the fire didn't spread and was contained to the box. So I can take the new light fixtures and ballasts back to Home Depot as he was able to wire the existing light fixture that continues to work fine. All the other lights came back on and I am good to go. Thanks for all your help!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:35PM
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Too late now, but it would make sense to have the electrician install a new T8 ballast as long as he was there.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:42PM
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bibbus 7b

Well, I had two ready for installation but the electrician said they didn't need to be replaced. And the Home Depot salesman said the light fixtures should last longer than the 4-5 years they've been installed. But at least I know an electrician now and they were very inexpensive - at least the price they quoted me over the phone. I was shocked but they send a bill and don't collect at the time of service. Never had that happen before!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 8:53PM
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