I have two T12 double-ended G13 2-pin 4 foot fluorescent lights in my bathroom. They often (maybe 1/3 of the time) won't turn on, with a very slight glow in one corner, then usually turn on after an extended period of time. I replaced the bulbs with new ones and this still happens. From my googling I read this as a sign that my ballast is bad. Is that right?

My initial response was to replace the bulbs with LEDs, something like the Philips Instafit or Hyperikon "plug and play" models that work with a ballast, as that would be a very easy installation I could do myself. But if my ballast is bad, that won't help me, correct?

Installing a new ballast in 2019 doesn't seem to make sense. So am I right in thinking that my best path is to buy non-Instafit LED bulbs and bypass the ballast?

Thanks for any help!

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Interesting question; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to participate here. Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 2:56

1 Answer 1


Do not use plug-n-play LEDs - they depend on a functioning ballast and your ballast is suspect.

Because then, you'd be at a crossroads. Return the plug-n-play and remove the ballast and get a direct-wire/ballast-bypass LED... Or replace the ballast and stay with PnP and support that ballast forever, even though LEDs don't actually need it. Obviously the second one is pretty lame.

I honestly recommend a third choice, replace the ballast and keep that nice new tube you just got, that is probably 90 CRI and better light than you'll get anytime soon from LED. Modern ballasts fix all the complaints about fluorescents.

  • Thank you for confirming my guesses! My understanding is fluorescent tubes aren't even being manufactured anymore, so replacing the ballast doesn't make a great deal of sense.
    – Georg
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 3:09
  • 1
    Incandescent lights are being phased out. I would expect fluorescent to be with us for quite some time. Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 3:15
  • @Georg -- fluorescent lights are still going strong; while they are a legacy technology, their lumens/watt is nowhere near as bad as incandescents, and they do offer some advantages over LED in terms of maturity and low cost Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 3:46
  • Ahh thanks, I was misinformed there.
    – Georg
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 15:09

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