Fluorescent light very dim. Is this the ballast?

Our kitchen light, which uses two 4-foot fluorescent light bulbs, is very dim. Is this a sign the ballast needs to be replaced? Both bulbs are very dim, but evenly lit along their length and both the same as each other. Since it started doing this, one time it lit fully for about five or ten minutes. This morning they were completely dark at first, but are now very dim again.

I tried reading through this page, but my eyes glazed over.

I’ll add that, other than turning it on or off, no one has touched the light or fixture in about a year (to clean it). It’s mounted on the ceiling. I last changed the bulbs maybe seven years ago.

Just go buy some bulbs, they’re like $5 a pair. Seven years is a good run for fluorescent bulbs. The starter’s probably gone out in the tube which would be fixed by buying new bulbs.

try new bulbs

I can try new bulbs, but I’d rather not go and buy new buIbs and then have to return to the store to get a new ballast. I thought someone might know offhand whether it’s the bulbs or the ballast.

It could be the tubes, the ballast, or both. I have had many a store manager or property manager give me a work order to change a ballast when the only thing wrong was the tubes.

If it is a cheap fixture after 7 years probably ballast. Probably not a starter because the light is not blinking.

Here is how I always do this job. I change both lights if there is still a problem then I change the ballast. And after changing the ballast I leave the new tubes in the fixture. So you are not wasting your time getting new tubes you need them anyway.