Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Home Maintenance Replacing a Lens on an Overhead Fluorescent Light Fixture

Early in November, on the 6th, Daylight Savings Time ended.  I attempted to change the time on my kitchen clock, and unfortunately knocked out the plastic  lens on the fluorescent light fixture above.  It was old, and I saw it shatter as it hit the floor, because old plastic gets really brittle with age.
I knew this meant a lot of trouble for me because the fixture was around thirty years old, and I had replaced the lens once before.  At that time I went to a high end lighting gallery and it had to be custom formed to fit this fixture.  Most lighting manufacturers create overhead lighting to their unique measurements.  the products are not standardized.  You cannot go to a large "orange" hardware store and purchase a lens to fit, because the ends are rounded and shaped.  For some reason I looked inside the fixture and a manufacturer's label was there!  It read LaMar Lighting Company, Inc., Farmingdale, NY!  I live a few miles from Farmingdale.  So, I took a chance and  Googled  this name to find the company.
As luck would have it they were still in business. 
I phoned them and went over.
The two things that I always do when looking for replacement parts, is to bring along the original part, even if it is broken, and I always carry cash.  Even with the end in tatters, this company recognized the lens part. 
Although they did not have this piece in stock anymore, they knew who did!  
Again luck was with me because Diversified Lighting Diffusers, Inc., was also located in Farmingdale.   The woman behind the counter told me that they didn't usually sell to individuals, but if I could pay exactly the correct amount I could purchase replacement lenses.  I bought three, two new ones for the kitchen fixtures, and one spare.
I replaced both lenses although one was not broken, because they yellow over  time.  The woman at the diffusers (a fancy name for a lens) store mentioned that  many contractors try to keep the prices of lighting down by buying fixtures from Asia, out of the country.  The fixtures are created and delivered, but not replacement parts. Each fixture is so unique that her entire business caters to creating the replacement plastic parts for overhead fluorescent lighting.  Now imagine whole factories, schools, motels, places of business , with hundreds of fixtures  that might lose their lenses.  The moral of this saga is buy local, at least buy American made , because you will eventually need to find parts.  The cost of replacing the fixture would be much greater; electrician, dry wall worker, etc. than the cost of parts. All of that went through my brain as the lens crashed to the floor.  When you start something think of the end,  and the end always requires replacement parts.  I was very lucky this time.


robert schmid said...

WOW! and a merry christmas to you

r schmid said...

WOW! and a merry christmas to you

Michael K said...

Good Post,

Buy American. Buy local.

I had several bronze sculptures cast in China. Here in the US they originally cost 1800 each to cast. In China it was 100 each. But they were terrible and I could not sell them. They say the shipping is free but the US duty to bring it in the port is about the same price as the entire shipment cost.Then I found another foundry who could cast the same piece for 400 in the US. I am using that foundry now. Lori's story times everyone who is waking up will be good for our economy.

Mike Speaker

elizabeth said...

Yes, I do agree about buying American-made whenever possible.
Why do people moan about no jobs in America then buy stuff made in China?
Quite silly if you ask me.
For toys I tapped in' toys made in America' and there are lots of super ones.


JC said...

What an ordeal !!!

You would think you could just order it on line or get it at a Lowe's (our local get everything place).

Glad you got extras ...

lisa hermanson said...

Lori, I have a similar kind of fixture in my kitchen! So rewarding when these kind of scavenger hunts
are successful. AND your advice most
valuable - persistence and cash are the keys.

diane b said...

It sure is difficult these days to buy replacement parts. It is usually means buying a new one, what ever it is, We are the throw away society. You were very lucky. My husband complains because you can't even go into a hardware store and buy a few screws but you have to buy a packet of 100.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it would have been easier to replace the light fixture after all that hassle.

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