Flickering Light Fixture: Cause and Solution
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re going to help Bud in Oregon avoid a hair-raising electrical situation.
What’s going on, Bud?
BUD: I’ve got 3 banks of the 2 bulbs each, 4-foot long mounted up in the ceiling, built into a box directly over my cooktop. And during the summertime, when the humidity is higher, if I get any moisture up there, it can take sometimes days before those lights will come on reliably on the first flip of the switch.
Now, in the winter, when I’m burning a wood stove, which means I’ve got lower humidity inside the house, if I’m cooking on the cooktop and don’t turn the lights on before, I get the same problem. Except as soon as the moisture stops going up there and I’ve got 10, 15 minutes, then the lights will start coming back on regularly and be reliable again.
So, what I need to know from you, if you’ve got some suggestions, is before I get up there and start looking for how to do something, I want to know what I need to have in stock. Is there something – a lubricant, a cleanser or whatever – to do something with contacts or got any suggestions?
TOM: I would give up on those fixtures.
BUD: I would, too. I think you’re right.
TOM: I would just give up on them. They don’t sound safe to me. I’m not quite sure what exactly is going wrong with them but they certainly shouldn’t be behaving that way. And I would worry about them getting worse and potentially causing a fire.
The cost of a 4-foot, doable fluorescent fixture is not very much today. And so I would simply take this on as a project and replace each and every one of them. I wouldn’t try to change the ballast out, I wouldn’t try to clean it, I wouldn’t try to do anything like that. I would just replace them. It’s just not worth it.
BUD: It’s not what I wanted to hear but it’s a good thing and it’s probably cheaper in the long run to spend the $8, $10 per what you – put up 3 brand-new ones.
BUD: OK. I’ll just look for a good time when I can do it without breaking my neck.
TOM: That’s always important. Bud, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.