How to Remove a Fluorescent Bulb Ballast

A fluorescent light bulb fixture has a mechanism inside called a ballast. The ballast is the device that controls the light and determines how long it takes for the bulb to light. If you light malfunctions, you may need to remove the ballast and either replace or repair it. You can easily remove the part from the fixture but if you have no familiarity with electricity you should be very careful or have someone more familiar help you.

A ballast controls the current flowing into the light.
  1. Turn off the power running to the fluorescent light you are working with by switching off the power to your circuit breaker.
  2. Remove the fluorescent bulb by slowly pulling the light bulb out from one end of the light fixture. Next, pull the other end of the fluorescent bulb.
  3. Remove the cover plate from the fixture. These plates are usually held in place with a few screws that can be taken out with a Phillips screwdriver. You will expose the wiring of the fixture when you remove this plate.
  4. Locate the ballast. It is the long, narrow box that is usually black in color. The ballast will have wires coming out of both the right and left ends of the casing.
  5. Cut the wires going into both ends of the ballast with wire clippers. You should cut the wires as close to the ballast as you can get to leave the most possible wire in the fixture.
  6. Pull the ballast down and away from the wiring. If there is any resistance, make sure you have clipped every wire going into it.

Things You Will Need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Wire clippers


  • Your fixture may have more than one ballast, so check thoroughly for additional ballasts other than the first one you see.


  • Dispose of a faulty ballast in an acceptable manner for your location, as it is unsafe and illegal to dispose of it improperly.

About the Author

Based in Marlboro, New Jersey, Karen Miller has been writing business- and health-related articles since 1980. Her work has appeared in “Business Week” magazine and “American Health” magazine. Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and theater from Mount Holyoke College.

Photo Credits

  • fluorescent light starter image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com