How much flourescent ballast humming is too much indicating replacement?

How much flourescent ballast humming is too much indicating replacement?
I have some ballasts that don't hum at all, and some that hum loud enough to hear them ten feet away and some that barely hum, but they do hum.
For the ones that hum noticeably (about the sound of a refrigerator compressor), I know that they need to be replaced and I know that replacing the $20 ballast is probably substandard to going all LED so for the loud hummers I will go to the expense of replacing the entire fixtures with LEDs.
But LEDs will drop in price by a lot over the next few years so I don't want to replace any ballast or fixture that doesn't need to be replaced right now.
So my question is all about the ones that hum ever so little?
The hum is about the level of a soft whisper. You have to stop to look to notice, otherwise you wouldn't notice the minor subtle hum.
Is that soft-whisper ballast telling me to replace it also?
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On Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 2:28:18 PM UTC-5, Hazuki Nakamura wrote:

If the light is fine and the noise is so minimal that it doesn't bother you, why would you replace it at this time?
Is the fixture so vital that if it failed hard you couldn't wait a few days to repair it? If so, replace it as soon as it makes any more noise than a new one or wait until the noise is bothersome.
Instead of buying a $20 ballast, why not use direct wire LED's? Two 4' T8 LED tubes cost the same as a ballast. With a little rewiring, you avoid "the expense of replacing the entire fixtures with LEDs." and eliminate ballast issues forever.
https://www.earthled.com/collections/t8-t12-led-fluorescent-replacement-tube-lights-that-bypass-ballast-rewire/products/luceco-led-fluorescent-replacement-tube-generation-2-4-ft-18-watt-ballast-bypass-direct-wire-full-glass-body?variant 929188100
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On Thu, 8 Dec 2016 12:44:48 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03
I want to thank you for mentioning these as I didn't know they were available. I just ordered 40 tubes through Amazon for my Workshop / Barn / Stable.
This is what I purchased:
http://amzn.to/2h5hwDj
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On Friday, December 9, 2016 at 10:18:07 AM UTC-5, Stormin' Norman wrote:

You are aware that you now have to rewire 20 fixtures to bypass the ballasts, right?
You also have to make sure that you don't have shunted tombstones. If you do, you may need to swap them out for non-shunted varieties. The tubes I bought from EarthLed will not work with shunted tombstones.
See here:
https://www.earthled.com/blogs/led-lighting-faq-frequently-asked-questions/what-is-the-difference-between-a-shunted-and-non-shunted-tombstone
Just as an aside, would I have ordered 40 bulbs in one shot without testing a couple to see if I like the light? Nope. I ordered 2 from EarthLed to test in one fixture.
A few months ago I purchased a 4' LED shop light fixture for my garage and it is a lot brighter than the standard florescent it replaced. Almost too bright. I don't know if I would want my entire shop lit with the same fixtures, thus my desire to test a couple of the LED tubes in my shop first. I'll do the fixture over a workbench where more light would be a good idea, but I may not do the main floor space, at least not all of it.
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On Fri, 9 Dec 2016 08:21:52 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

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On Fri, 9 Dec 2016 08:21:52 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

10 fixtures, they are four tubes each. The ballasts are old and I want them out anyway. I have a lift and a great grandson who loves electrical and electronic work. The fixtures are suspended from chains and hooks so, we will take them down and do them on the bench.

The tubes work with either style tombstone, I checked that as part of my pre-purchase evaluation. Doesn't really matter as I have several boxes of replacements of both styles.

Call me wild and crazy. I know what 6000k light looks like and if I they are not as represented, I can send them back for free with Amazon. Easy peasy. At my age, it is less than wise to wait for anything.

I have the fixtures wired with a dual switch, I can energize either 2 tubes or 4 tubes in all of the fixtures depending upon what I want to do. I almost always find I don't have enough light.
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On Friday, December 9, 2016 at 1:06:44 PM UTC-5, Stormin' Norman wrote:

That's probably because they are Dual-End Powered. The ones I ordered are single end powered so shunted tombstones won't work.

Your response is in the middle of my comments, but I did use the words "like the *light*" so I can understand why you answered the way you did.
My next paragraph (below) details the issue I was really talking about when I said "like the light". It was related to lumens, not CCT.
(more on that below)

I don't know what you are replacing, and I'm still learning about LED replacements, but this is my understanding:
It looks like the bulbs you ordered are 2400 lumens. A 32w 4'ft fluorescent is about 2850. However, because of the directionality (all down) of the light from an LED tube, a lower lumen LED may appear to be much brighter than a higher lumen fluorescent. EarthLED customer service verified that for me when I spoke to them about the 1800 lumen tubes I ordered. My guess is that a 2400 lumen bulb would be too bright for where I want to use them. The 1800's haven't arrived yet so I'm not speaking from experience - yet. We'll see, but that is why I want to test them I buy more. I have areas that have different lighting needs, so they'll get put to use anyway.
As I age, I also understand the importance of task lighting more and more. ;-) I have clip-on lights above the miter saw, band saw, drill press, etc.
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On Fri, 9 Dec 2016 12:44:48 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

Actually, the lights I ordered are rated 2500Lm @ 6000 Kelvin. The temperature of the new light is higher than the old lights so these should allow for good medical care for the horses as well as a nice bright light for working on projects.
I will let you know how well I like them. I thought the price was good and there is that great Amazon return policy.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for making me aware these existed at all, I did not know about them.

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says...

Don't worry about the noise unless it bothers you. Ballast have a noise rating and some may make more noise than others. When they start makiing noise then may go for a long time before going electrically bad.
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On 12/8/2016 3:58 PM, Ralph Mowery wrote:

I've had cfl hummers that hummed from the time they were put in. Ones in the kitchen annoyed me but not wife and now that they are gone they were replaced with led's.
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In MANY cases just tightening the ballast or putting a shim between it and the fixture housing will shut the balast up completely. If it can't move in relation to the case, it can't make a noise. (unless it is vibrating enough to actually make the case into a "speaker"

There are quite a few that I hear now with my hearing aids that I never heard before - - - -
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On Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:49:36 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

An elderly couple was attending church services, about halfway through she leans over and says to her husband, "
I just let out a silent fart what do you think I should do?"
He replies " Put a new battery in your hearing aid."
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On 12/8/2016 2:28 PM, Hazuki Nakamura wrote:

The time to replace it is when the hum bothers you. Could hum for years. Sure, the cost of LED will go down but you can;t put a dollar value on peace of mind.
You for pay for that hum if that is a factor. The hum uses (and wastes) electricity.
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A tap of a hammer on the case is worth a try. Not beat on it, but a firm tap, enough to make a visible dent in the metal.
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