I have come up with an idea to heat florescent bulbs in the winter, so
they work in the cold. What I did was take a clear plastic and encase
the whole fixture, allowing only a small hole on each end. Then I
took some steel conduit and ran it into one end of the plastic
covering the bulb and fixture. On the other end of the steel pipe, I
have a hair dryer.
Here is how it works.
I go into my unheated garage about 1/2 hour before I really want to
work in there. I plug in the hair dryer and turn it on. The heated
air blows thru the pipe, which goes up to the plastic surrounding the
florescent fixture. The heated air blows thru the plastic and exits
out the other end. In the process the bulb and fixture are warmed.
One half hour later they are warm enough to turn them on, and the bulb
lights just like it does in the summer.
Caution, be sure the steel pipe is long enough so the plastic dont
start on fire, but not so long that the air is cold by the time it
gets to the bulb. My pipe is about 6 feet long. I run the hair dryer
on medium heat. So far my biggest problem is the plastic melting
where the pipe enters when I had the hair dryer on high. The other
problem is the plastic tends to come off because the hot air causes
the tape to release.
My next plan is to run the heated air directly into a knockout on the
end of the fixture. This will heat the ballast well, but I am afraid
not the bulb. I am looking into a solution for that. I also have
plans to insulate the pipe with fiberglass, and switch to flex pipe so
I can mount it to the wall, instead of sitting right in the center of
Now that I have proven this works, I need to simplyfy the whole thing.
Final note. I keep the hair dryer upright by placing it in my vice.
I have the pipe clamped to a piece of steel screwed to my workbench,
just ahead of the hair dryer.