flourescent lighting intermittent

My kitchen has three pairs of recessed flourescent lighting tubes in the ceiling and two switches that operate it. I have not taken out the ladder and removed the cover to see what's inside yet.
For the past several weeks the lights are taking longer to come on. The first pair comes on then the other ones slowly catch up and come on. It is taking longer for all of them to come on now. I suppose the ballast is going bad. I don't know if this kind of arrangement would have more than one ballast though (is this possible?). Before I make a big mess in the kitchen can anyone enlighten me what to look for in the fixture when I get up there? I do have a multimeter and have done some basic electrical wiring (fans, outlets, switches) before.
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Open them up and take a look at the lamps. If they are dark on one or both ends, replace them, they need to be replaced anyway.
Other than that, we don't know much. How old are the fixtures? how long have you had them? What size are the fixtures? How many lamps? Do they have the small can type starters? Is it cold where they are located (I doubt that one)?
In short, tell us more.
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Joseph E. Meehan

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