How to Replace Burnt Out T8 Fluorescent Lights

paneled ceiling with fluorescent lights
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 130-200
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Replacement bulb
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Replacement bulb

T8 fluorescent lights, known for their ability to create bright light over a larger area of space, are a commonly used type of fluorescent bulb that over time will burn out and require replacement.

About T8 Fluorescent Bulbs

T8 fluorescent bulbs are 32-watt bulbs that have a diameter of one inch and come in varying lengths. The T8 bulbs range in length from four-foot bulbs to eight-foot bulbs. These bulbs, considered energy efficient and durable, can last up to two years before requiring replacement. These bulbs are available in an abundance of stores making the purchasing aspect of replacement an easy task.

Step 1 - Safety

fluorescent work light

The first step in replacing a fluorescent bulb is knowing how to be safe. Fluorescent bulbs are fragile and become very brittle once burnt out, making them easy to break or shatter. If you do happen to break a bulb, be aware that it contains mercury. When cleaning a broken bulb, use gloves and always wear shoes.

Step 2 - Measure the Bulb

Measure the full length of the bulb from end to end with your measuring tape to determine the correct length of replacement bulb required. Since these bulbs come in a wide range of lengths, measuring before you purchase the new bulb can save a return trip to the store.

Step 3 - Determine the Pin Type

room with fluorescent lights

Now that you know what length of bulb to purchase, you also need to know which type of replacement bulb to purchase. To determine the type, you need to look at the lamp to determine if it is a bi-pin lamp or single-pin lamp. A bi-pin or two-pin lamp will have contact pins on each end of the fluorescent bulb. The pins extend from each end of the light bulb and fit into a socket on either end of the lamp. A single-pin lamp will only have one contact pin extending from one end of the bulb.

Step 4 - Remove the Old Bulb

Removing an old burnt out T8 fluorescent light bulb is relatively easy. If the lamp is a bi-pin lamp, you will need to rotate the fluorescent bulb counter clockwise to release it from the lamp sockets. Once released, you can pull it downward out of the lamp sockets. If the lamp is a single-pin lamp, you will need to pull outward on the socket to release the contact pin and then pull the fluorescent bulb downward out of the lamp. Again, be careful when removing the bulb so you do not break it.

Step 5 - Install the New Bulb

Installing the new bulb is simply the reverse of removing the old one. If the lamp is a bi-pin lamp, you will need to insert both contact pins to the end sockets and then rotate the fluorescent bulb clockwise to lock it into the lamp. If the lamp is a single-pin lamp, you will need to insert the contact pin into the socket and then push the fluorescent bulb upward to lock it into the lamp. After installation of the new bulb is complete, be sure to properly and safely dispose of the old bulb.