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.