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Fluorescent and HID Lamp Troubleshooting Guide


Lighting system maintenance is a top priority for many facility managers. But when something goes wrong in a fluorescent or HID lighting system, identifying the problem can be a challenge. The guide below provides step-by-step help for diagnosing and correcting several common fluorescent lamp issues.  To see the full guide, including HID troubleshooting help, click here.


Corrective Action

Lamps will not


1. Check if there is power to the fixture.

2. Be sure lamp is properly seated in socket.

3. Replace lamp.

4. Reseat or change starter (preheat only)

5. Check wiring connections.

6. Test ballast

Slow or erratic



1. Check ground (fixture must be grounded for reliable starting)

2. Check ballast label for correct lamp.

3. Check wiring connections.

4. Check for low supply voltage.

5. Be sure lamp is properly seated in socket.

6. Test ballast.

Excessive Noise


1. Tighten loose components.

2. Install ballasts of the proper sound rating.

3. Replace faulty ballast(s). Normal operation should resume.

4. Note: All fluorescent ballasts emit some noise.

Lamp(s) are



1. Check air temperature in and around fixture.

2. Check ballast and coil temperatures – ballast case temperatures should not exceed 90° C and coil temperatures should not exceed 105° C.

3. Remove building insulation from above fixtures to allow for heat dissipation.

4. Replace faulty ballast(s). Normal operation should resume.

Lamp flickering

and or swirling

1. New lamps with less than 100 hours of service can exhibit this

2. Defective starters

3. Lamp to cold

4. Defective lamp

5. Improper voltage

6. Defective ballast


1. Improper fixture design or ballast application

2. High circuit voltage

3. Improper wiring or installation

4. Defective ballast

5. Poor lamp maintenance

6. Incorrect type of lamps

7. Incorrect number of lamps

8. High ambient temperature


1. Radio and antenna must be 4-10 feet from lamps.

2. Correct condition by use of radio interference filters.

3. Lighting fixtures should be on separate electrical circuits.

Recycling Fluorescent Lamps with LampRecycling.com

The EasyPak™ prepaid recycling container program is a simple way to recycle spent fluorescent and HID lamps, as well as batteries, ballasts, and electronic waste.  EasyPak offers unique features such as Recycling Reports and Container Tracking, that can help you track recycling progress and determine container status.

Click here for FAQ about the EasyPak program.

For information about recycling at larger facilities, click here.