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Why is my tube light making noise? The light bulb inside the fluorescent tube produces noise when it heats up and releases electrons. These particles are also known as ballasts. When these become loose inside their holders, they produce a low hum. Regardless of the reason for the noise, you can take steps to prevent it. However, if you are unsure of what the problem is, you can always check the light bulbs themselves.
Fluorescent light emits electrons as it heats up
Fluorescent lamps contain mercury or other noble gas at a pressure lower than atmospheric pressure. Fluorescent lamps contain two filament emitters that are heated by an electrical current and then excite the mercury or noble gas by emitting electrons. The ionized gas is highly conductive, allowing higher currents to flow through the tube. In addition to emitting light, fluorescent lamps also contain mercury, which has an equilibrium vapor pressure of one part per thousand in the inner tube. Their emission of light is in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum, with wavelengths between 185 and 253.7 nm.
The concept of fluorescent lamps was developed in the 1880s, but was not patented until the 1930s. The inventor, Edmund Germer, had the idea for a low-voltage fluorescent lamp and eventually used the technology to make the first fluorescent lamp. It took decades of steady work to perfect this concept. Germer’s idea was not the only one who developed fluorescent lighting. Many other inventors worked on the idea as well. By 1938, it was used in indoor lamps and as the backlight for LCD displays. The fluorescent lamp is a great option for small-area general or decorative lighting, but not for lighting a far distance.
While fluorescent lamps emit more energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs, they are environmentally friendly and require far less energy. Because they use less power, governments and industry encourage the replacement of incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent ones. Fluorescent lamps were invented in 1856 by Heinrich Geissler, who used a sealed gas tube to emit a blue glow. The filament was excited by an induction coil. Other researchers attributed fluorescent lamps to Nikola Tesla, who discovered the process of fluorescent lights.
Fluorescent light ballasts contain a low hum
When your fluorescent lights start humming, there’s a good chance that the problem is due to the ballast. The bulb contains an inert gas that can overheat if the current goes too fast. Fluorescent light ballasts help control the flow of electricity, but they can be noisy and should be checked to prevent a fire hazard. Magnetic ballasts use magnetic induction transformers and generate a low hum, while electronic ballasts are solid-state.
It’s important to always disconnect electricity from your light fixtures before working on the ballast. If the power isn’t disconnected at the main panel, you may accidentally turn on a wall switch while working. A non-contact circuit tester can be used to verify that there’s no electricity going to the light. If this still doesn’t solve the problem, it’s time to replace your fluorescent light ballast.
The energy efficiency of fluorescent light ballasts can be improved by adjusting their frequencies. Electronic ballasts operate fluorescent lamps with a higher frequency than magnetic ballasts, resulting in more efficient light output and less energy consumption. Electronic ballasts also eliminate the buzz of the 60-cycle. Magnetic ballasts are also prone to causing eye fatigue due to the strobe-like lighting effect they produce.
In the workplace, fluorescent light ballasts are used in many applications where the current can vary. The low hum that you hear is actually the ballast’s job. It regulates the current to the lamp’s specific requirements. Without it, fluorescent lamps would not start or stay lit. If your fluorescent bulbs have a low hum, it’s likely the ballast’s job to regulate the flow of power.
Fluorescent light tubes contain inert gas and mercury
The patented technology behind fluorescent lamps uses a combination of inert gas and mercury to produce light. The inert gas has low vapor pressure, so mercury can be more easily cooled while still allowing a higher luminous efficiency. Mercury is also relatively unstable, making it noisey, so it is important to use a mercury-free fluorescent lamp whenever possible. Its inert gas is typically an inert gas, making it more noise-resistant than its mercury counterpart.
Fluorescent lamps emit a noise, but this noise is hardly harmful. The flicker caused by fluorescent lights is very fast, and it is not a health risk for epileptic patients. However, some early studies suggest that the noise made by fluorescent lamps is related to repetitive movement in autistic children. However, these studies were not replicated. The only known health risk of fluorescent lamps is mercury toxicity.
The fluorescent process begins with the emission of UV photons, which are in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. These photons must be converted to visible light before they can be used. The fluorescent conversion takes place in the phosphor coating on the inner surface of the tube. The electrons in the phosphor absorb the ultraviolet photons, which causes an energy jump and subsequent drop in energy. This further photon is then converted to visible light.
As the lamp continues to operate, its emitter becomes saturated with electrons. At this point, the cathode cannot pass enough electrons into the gas fill to maintain the discharge at the desired operating voltage. As a result, some control gears continue to operate the tube in the cold cathode mode, which results in overheating the tube end, the rapid disintegration of the support wires and the glass to shatter.
Fluorescent light ballasts can become loose in their holders
If your fluorescent lighting is flickering, or your lamps have a dull ambiance, it may be time to check your fluorescent light ballast. If you can hear a buzzing sound, it is likely a bad ballast. Also, a loose ballast may be an indicator of an old or aging fluorescent lamp. It is difficult to replace a magnetic ballast. This article has been updated with new information.
If you can’t find the bad part, you can check the other parts first. There may be resistors, capacitors, or diodes in the ballast that are malfunctioning. Make sure to check these parts for shorts or open circuits. If they are bad, swapping them out may be the easiest way to fix your fluorescent light. If this doesn’t work, you can take it to a hardware store and purchase a replacement.
Older fluorescent light ballasts may contain tar-like substances called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These materials can irritate the skin. If you can’t find the old ballast, it might be time to replace it. Make sure you get a replacement that is the same voltage rating and wiring configuration. If it does, it may be cheaper than a new fixture.
Another cause of leaking fluorescent light bulbs is an open circuit. The hot spot can lead to glass melting inside the tube, which can then suck out the chopper transistors. The hole failure mode is also common in high-mileage CFLs and can be a sign that the ballast is malfunctioning. If the fluorescent light bulb does not work properly, you may need to replace the ballast first, before trying any other problems with your fixtures.
Fixing a humming tube light
A humming tube light can be frustrating, but there are many fixes available. You should first check the bulb, which may be burned out or not seated properly in the socket. If the bulb is not burnt out, you can clean it and straighten it out with pliers. If that doesn’t work, replace the bulb. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you may need to replace the whole fixture.
Fluorescent lights are also susceptible to a buzzing sound. This is caused by a defective starter, which is a round plug that sticks out of the fluorescent fixture housing. If the light is flickering, this is most likely due to a defective starter. If the starter is out, replace it, making sure that the replacement starter is the same amp rating. It’s not difficult to diagnose a humming tube light by identifying its problem component.
If the humming is intermittent, the problem might lie in the fluorescent tubes. Some old tubes might be dying, so the pins at the end of the tube may not be making good contact. Straightening the pins with a needle-nose pliers is one way to fix this problem. Then, clean the pins with fine sandpaper. The gray or black bands at the end of the tube are a sign of a worn out tube. In this case, you’ll need to replace the tube. A new fluorescent tube may require a starter or ballast.
If you’re not able to find the culprit, try checking the starter. It’s a small metal cylinder that transmits electrical current from the fluorescent ballast to the fluorescent tubes. Fortunately, most modern fluorescent fixtures use electronic ballasts, which make them easy to replace. Usually, the starter is located on the interior of the fixture near the end of the tube. To replace the starter, you can simply bring the old tube to a hardware store.