How to Troubleshoot Issues with Commercial Lighting Systems

Commercial lighting systems provide illumination for large spaces like offices, warehouses, retail stores, and other facilities. These systems are more complex than basic home lighting and require proper maintenance and troubleshooting when issues arise. Learning some troubleshooting techniques can help facility managers, maintenance staff, and electricians quickly diagnose and resolve common commercial lighting problems.

Common Issues with Commercial Lighting

Some of the most frequent problems with commercial lighting include:

Failing or Burnt Out Lights

Wiring and Connection Problems

Ballast and Driver Failures

Faulty Lighting Controls

Voltage Irregularities

Basic Troubleshooting Steps

Addressing commercial lighting issues begins with methodical troubleshooting:

Visual Inspection

Check Connections

Test Components Individually

Analyze Performance of Entire System

Consider Voltage Input Issues

Review System Controls and Settings

Check Service and Maintenance Records

Troubleshooting by Lighting Type

Certain issues occur with specific lighting technologies:

Fluorescent Troubleshooting

Issue Potential Causes
Tubes flicker, dim, or won't start Faulty ballast or starter
Buzzing sound Bad ballast or faulty fixture
Blackened tube ends Overheating from improper voltage

LED Troubleshooting

Issue Potential Causes
Some LEDs are burnt out Faulty driver or LED panel
Erratic dimming Compatibility problem with dimmer or driver
Buzzing/hissing noise Grounding problem or electromagnetic interference

HID and Halogen Light Troubleshooting

Emergency Lighting Troubleshooting

When to Call an Electrician

While many lighting problems can be addressed in-house, an experienced electrical contractor should handle complex troubleshooting or electrical repairs involving:

Consult qualified electricians immediately for any sparking, smoking, or burned components.

Preventative Maintenance

Regular system maintenance helps minimize lighting problems:

With proper inspection, testing, and repairs, facility managers can keep commercial lighting systems running efficiently and minimize disruptive outages. Following structured troubleshooting procedures also facilitates quicker diagnosis and resolution of lighting problems when they do occur. Maintaining detailed documentation and maintenance records is also essential for tracking performance.