How to Change Circline Fluorescent Lights

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Changing a circle light is the same as a regular light.
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Replacing round fluorescent lights might seem tricky at first because of the extra wires that plug into the light bulb. If you're working with a circline light fixture for the first time, you might be wondering if you need to call an electrician! Fortunately, the simple household task of changing a light bulb is still something you can do on your own with circline bulbs.

Replacing Round Fluorescent Lights

The first step in replacing any light is to turn off the power so that you do not suffer an accidental electric shock. Once that's done, get on a sturdy step ladder and remove the light cover. Some circular ceiling covers may have clips along the outside edge that hold the cover in place, while others may have a screw at the bottom of the dome that secures the cover.

Once the cover has been safely removed and set aside, you'll see one or two circline light bulbs in the fixture. Each one also has an electrical cord that connects the light bulb to the ballast. Because the light bulbs are different sizes, it's wise to mark which cord goes to which light bulb. Use masking tape and a permanent marker to identify the cords.

Next, pull down on one of the clips holding the light bulb in place, while simultaneously pushing the light bulb up, to pop it out of the clip. Do this for all the clips until the light bulb is free. Then, pull the ballast plug out of the light bulb. Hold the plug as close to the light bulb as possible in order to prevent damage to the wires.

Circline Fluorescent Light Bulb LED Replacement

Now, you need to purchase the correct replacement bulbs. Always choose the brand of bulb that matches the brand of the ballast, which means, for example, a GE circline fluorescent ballast replacement bulb needs to also be a GE brand. Bulb wattage and outside diameter are also important. Consider bringing your old bulbs with you to the hardware store for assistance in selecting the appropriate replacement bulbs.

Also, note whether you liked or disliked the "warmth" or brightness of the lights you're replacing. You can purchase new bulbs that give off a warmer or more intense light to match your preference. Because fluorescent lights last a long time, it's wise to choose a light that won't bother you for any reason.

For example, a 2700K temperature rating is warm and cozy, whereas a bulb in the 3000-3500K range is still soft, but has a brightness you might appreciate around your bathroom mirror. At the other end of the spectrum is a 5000K rating, which mimics the sun's intensity at noon.

Installing New Circline Bulbs

Once you've purchased circline fluorescent light bulb LED replacements, installing them is easy. If needed, consult the labels on the cords that you made earlier and plug in the large light bulb first. Next, place it over the clips and, while supporting the bulb with one hand, push it into each of the clips one by one until it snaps securely into place. Repeat with the smaller light bulb if your fixture has two bulbs.

Before you put the cover back on the light fixture, turn the power back on and test it to make sure the bulbs work. If, for some reason, you suspect that the circular fluorescent light fixture is not working, you may need to call an electrician to troubleshoot the problem. But if the bulbs light up just fine, you're good to go. Simply reverse the process you performed to remove the fixture cover, and enjoy your new lights.

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Cathy Habas enjoys distilling even the most complicated home improvement tasks into bite-sized pieces. She believes in empowering homeowners one article at a time.

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