Fluorescent ballast

I have a kitchen and two bathrooms full of 4-foot fluorescent tubes. An increasing number of fixtures don't turn on right away, but may turn on a few minutes later. And all may work fine in cooler weather. Changing out the tubes doesn't help.
The house was built in 1972, so it may just be time to replace the ballasts. But I also wonder if it might be worth trying to reconnect the lines with new wire nuts on the theory that the old ones just aren't making good connections anymore unless the temperature is right.
Anyway, assuming I need to replace them, will I be able to find them at Home Despot or Lowes? Is there anything in particular that I need to look for? These are just standard 40-watt tubes, two per fixture.
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In case it matters, this is all T12.
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On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:07:15 PM UTC-4, Peabody wrote:

If it were me, I'd at least look at new LED fixtures. Fluorescent has the worst color light of any choice. LED is available in a few wavelengths and most look much better and use less energy. If you're willing to paint the ceiling too, they have shapes and styles that look 100 times better than the ugly rectangular old stuff.
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On Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:35:30 PM UTC-4, trader_4 wrote:

Also, extremely unlikely connections are the problem. They are old, do they have starters? Bad starters can exhibit the problems you're seeing.
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trader_4 says...
>> If it were me, I'd at least look at new LED fixtures. >> Fluorescent has the worst color light of any choice. >> LED is available in a few wavelengths and most look >> much better and use less energy. If you're willing to >> paint the ceiling too, they have shapes and styles that >> look 100 times better than the ugly rectangular old >> stuff.
I have six fixtures (12 tubes) in the kitchen above a dropped ceiling with plastic lens sheets belown the fixtures. I'n afraid that changing just the bad ones to LED will make things look funny because the light intensity, color or distribution will be different. So I think if I change any to LED, I'll probably have to change all of them.
Reading up on this, it appears there are a number of options for LED tubes, some of which require a ballast, and some don't (but at a higher price). So I think I'll have to spend some time at HD or Lowes with my calculator.
I would say though that it doesn't make sense to me to go to the expense and trouble of changing to LED and still end up with a ballast. So it looks like the ones that connect directly to mains would be the way to go, but again I guess that depends on the price.
I guess one other option would be changing over to conventional T8. But I suspect I would have the same appearance issue as with LEDs if I only switch the bad ones. And I'd have to invest in new ballasts.
I went into one of the fixtures tonight and basically just broke and remade the connections, and it works fine now. But it may not tomorrow. We'll see. The wire nuts were not snug, and wouldn't snug up. So I mashed them. And there are no starters.
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One thing that would be a real pain is having to change shunted connectors to non-shunted connectors at one end. But from the wiring diagram on the ballast, it looks like the connectors are already non-shunted. Is that right?
https://s22.postimg.cc/5moic4xmp/Ballast2.jpg
If I'm right about that, then the wiring switchover would be pretty simple, with no need to change out the connectors.
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On 9/15/2018 1:06 AM, Peabody wrote:

Wiring diagram is not an indication of shunted or non. There are two ways to confirm if you have shunted tombstones... 1) test them with a continuity meter 2) they should look like the photo in the link.
https://insights.regencylighting.com/hs-fs/hubfs/shunted-sockets-illustration-2.png?t 36957166808&widthu9&name=shunted-sockets-illustration-2.png
As was suggested, LED is the way to go. You can find a variety of lamps with different hues to match the brightness you prefer in each room. LEDs that don't require the use of the ballast are much more efficient but a bit more expensive. In the long run, this is the best option.
If you choose not to go with LEDs, the next most efficient method is T8 ballasts and lamps with green caps/ends. As for the ballast, instant or rapid start means what it says but rapid start has an edge over instant. Then there's programmed start. Programmed start ballasts will cost more but they incorporate a starting method which is gentler on the lamp than either the rapid or instant start ballasts and are designed to handle the constant on and off because that is what kills the life span of fluorescent lamps. Fluorescent lamps that remain on all day or better part of the day will last much longer. If you do that, then you can get by with instant or rapid start.
Overall, you'll have to calculate your expenses to determine what's best for your budget. Fluorescent fixtures are still efficient and still do the required job, but have very minor drawbacks. LEDs will save just a bit more, but depending on overall application and usage, those savings are significant.
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On 9/15/2018 8:02 AM, Meanie wrote:

Correction: ...those savings can be insignificant.
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On 9/15/2018 12:30 AM, Peabody wrote:

Is this a commercial kitchen? I cannot imagine six fixtures in a residential unless it is huge.
If you plan to be there for a while, it may be good to look at other options too. Fancy lighting can get costly though.
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On Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 11:35:45 AM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Maybe it's one of those kitchens where the cook makes meth? :)
Regarding other options, he has a drop ceiling, so unless he's going to change that, I think the options are very limited, no? It's pretty much fluorescent or LED that are similar to the rectangular fluorescent above a clear light panel in the drop ceiling. An advantage to LED, if he gets the dimmable ones would be he could control the amount of light. With 6 new lights in there, he might be surprised how bright they are. It looks to me like getting LED tubes where he rewires without the ballast might be the reasonable low end solution. The other higher end option being a ceiling renovation with modern fixtures.
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On Sat, 15 Sep 2018 08:51:28 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

If he is using natural light tubes like I have in my kitchen, I have not really seen a LED lamp that duplicates the color spectrum. LEDs are fine for things like the garage where you were running "cool white" T12s anyway. In places where you want a softer light LEDs usually leave something to desire and there is nothing that dims like an incandescent yet. (LEDs and CFLs are stuck with one color). I understand the technology is there to make a LED just about any color you want but I haven't seen a color changing LED dimmer yet. Flourescents are stuck with the phosphor they shot into the tube.
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On Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 3:38:39 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Actually there is. I posted her about a year ago about Philips new warm glow led bulbs. When you dim them, they go orange, just like an incandescent. Side by side, you can't tell them apart and they look totally different than regular leds.

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On Sat, 15 Sep 2018 13:06:04 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

Cool. If I ever run out of regular bulbs I will look into it. Lighting is a pretty insignificant part of my electrical load anyway so I am not really worried about it.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com writes:

https://lumicrest.com/colour-temperature/
... they come in 2700K warm white, 3000K clean white and 4000K natural white.
I think you can find just about any color temperature you want.
--
Dan Espen

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On Fri, 14 Sep 2018 23:30:15 -0500, Peabody

I have not changed ballasts in years, but 15 years ago, I recall paying around $15 to $20 each. Then add the cost of the bulbs.
I just installed 7 LED fixtures in a small local store. I told the owner to buy his own fixtures and I'd install them. He got 4ft. LED fixtures at Sams Club and paid about $32 each, for the complete fixture, with cord, hanger chains, etc. They provide a very bright and pleasant light. I bet you'll pay around that same price for ballasts and bulbs and still have old fixtures. LED uses far less energy too.
NO, you do not have to replace wirenuts. Unless they are rusty inside, or a wire breaks off in one of them.
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You can buy LED replacements for those tubes. They last forever, have a beautiful light color, and use less electricity, start instantly.
Get the kind that does not need or use the existing ballast. You need to open each fixture and rearrange the wires. Very simple.
--
Dan Espen

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On 9/14/2018 7:07 PM, Peabody wrote:

Replace them with LED fixtures. Long term you will like them better.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

Wire nuts seldom have bad connections show up after a number of years.
As many say, replace the bulbs and ballast with some LED tubes that do not need a ballast. You will have to rewire the fixture for the LED tubes.
If you do decide to replace the ballast, there are many kinds, so you have to get the one that matches the type of tubes you have.
Lowes and HD should have everything you need to do either.
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