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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Question Fluorescent lights and humidity

    Every summer I encounter the same problem: As soon as the hot weather (and humidity) arrives, the lights in some of my fixtures in the basement are either slow to light up or remain dark. Sometimes repeatedly flicking the switch on and off helps.

    Az soon as the weather changes in the fall -- and throughout the winter and early spring -- the lights come on instantly. Any ideas as to what is happening and how can I resolve this problem?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Default Re: Fluorescent lights and humidity

    What kind of fixtures do you have exactly?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Columbiana, Alabama
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    Default Re: Fluorescent lights and humidity

    Quote Originally Posted by nferenc View Post
    Every summer I encounter the same problem: As soon as the hot weather (and humidity) arrives, the lights in some of my fixtures in the basement are either slow to light up or remain dark. Sometimes repeatedly flicking the switch on and off helps.

    Az soon as the weather changes in the fall -- and throughout the winter and early spring -- the lights come on instantly. Any ideas as to what is happening and how can I resolve this problem?
    I guess you've changed out the lamps, but no improvement.

    The only thing left is the ballast but I'll bet you have the magnetic type which are fast becoming outlawed.

    I would not waste money on the old style T12 (1.5" diameter) lamps but upgrade to to new fixtures w/ either T12 (1" dia.) or T5 (5/8" dia) energy saving lamps w/ electronic ballast.

    It's odd..most magnetic ballasts complaints occur in the winter since they quit working around 32 deg.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Houston Texas
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    Default Re: Fluorescent lights and humidity

    I would not waste money on the old style T12 (1.5" diameter) lamps but upgrade to to new fixtures w/ either T12 (1" dia.) or T5 (5/8" dia) energy saving lamps w/ electronic ballast.
    I think you meant to say;

    I would not waste money on the old style T12 (1.5" diameter) lamps but upgrade to to new fixtures w/ either T8 (1" dia.) or T5 (5/8" dia) energy saving lamps w/ electronic ballast.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2011
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    Columbiana, Alabama
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    Default Re: Fluorescent lights and humidity

    Yes, thanks Houston.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    2

    Default Re: Fluorescent lights and humidity

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    What kind of fixtures do you have exactly?
    I don't know the official designation, but they are the (old) standard 4' fluorescent tubes, installed about 20 years ago. I read something about humidity having to do with the grounding of these lights. Since I have no problem in the winter, that may be. I have no central ac and it gets very humid in the summer.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Pacific Northwet
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    1,360

    Default Re: Fluorescent lights and humidity

    The T# is the diameter of the tube, in eighths of an inch. So T12 is 12/8" (1-1/2"), T8 is 8/8" (1"), and T5 is 5/8".

    One big advantage of the T8 with electronic ballast is that they usually operate at a higher frequency, so the flicker isn't as noticeable. They are also more efficient, producing more lumens per watt.

    Most fluorescent fixtures require that the reflector -- the metal part behind the lamps -- be grounded. I think this has more to do with preventing radio interference than functional operation of the lamp.
    Last edited by Fencepost; 06-13-2012 at 12:52 PM.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    SoCal
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    Default Re: Fluorescent lights and humidity

    nferenc,

    Get a new fixture. The old magnetic ballasts are being phased out and replaced by the electronic ones, which are better by all accounts. Soon you won't even be able to purchase a magnetic ballast in the USA.

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