Do you want to lower your energy consumption and still get superior lighting? Are you thinking about replacing your outdated T12 or T8 tube lights? Then you should know that LED tubes fit fluorescent fixtures. The T-12 and T-8 tubes and ballasts are becoming harder to find.
T5’s are still readily available and at this point are not scheduled to be discontinued.
Updated Resources for Outdated Fluorescent Light Fixtures
So you have an option of replacing your outdated tubes with T5s. But you are going to have to replace the ballast for the upgrade. With the added expense of new lamps and ballast, you could opt for LED tube lights. The initial cost is about the same. And you will benefit from the energy efficiency and the long life that LEDs can offer.
LEDs can easily fit into any socket today for replacing an incandescent light bulb or replace your fluorescent tubes. Of course, replacing your fluorescent tube lighting does require a little more technical knowledge.
Not all fluorescent fixtures are of the same design. And because of that, there is quite a bit of confusion about converting to LED lighting. The reason is that when choosing your replacement LED lamp, you have to think about LEDs differently.
You must consider lumens in place of wattage. And Kelvins to color brightness. The best way to decide on your replacement light bulb or fluorescent tube is to refer to the information on the side of the box. Most manufacturers will tell you that the bulb or tube is an equivalent replacement.
For example, when you are looking for a 60-watt light bulb or a 32-watt fluorescent tube check the information located on the box for 60-watt or 32-watt equivalent. Then all you have to do is determine the kelvins or color temperature.
The color temperature of a traditional incandescent is soft white, warm white (2700K). And the Kelvin of an office fluorescent bulb will range from (3000-3500K) or natural white, cool white. Or daylight white (4100-6500K). Bright white is exceptionally brilliant white.
Converting traditional light bulbs is simple. You choose the screw in base compatible with the light socket. And just twist it in.
Replacing your fluorescent fixtures is as easy as replacing the entire fixture with a LED fixture. But can set you back about a $100 per fixture. If you do not want to through the extra expense of replacing the fixture, you do have the option of using the existing fixture.
There are a variety of fluorescent light products specifically designed to use as direct replacements without the hassle of modifying the existing light fixture. These tubes are identified by the UL Type and sold as a plug and play, instant fit, and remote driver lamps.
And retrofitting it to accept the LED light. It will take a little work though, but it can be done.
This application is called the Ballast Bypass Conversion. The installation requires you to modify the existing light fixture to accept the UL Type B LED tube.
You are going to rewire and bypass the ballast and wire it directly to the tombstone. You can leave the old ballast in place or remove it. And when you complete the task it is recommended that you identify or label the fixture to indicate use only UL Type B lamps.
The benefit of bypassing the ballast is that you will not have to replace another ballast. That alone will save you $30- 75 dollars per fixture. Just a note, be sure the new tubes you are buying supply the wiring schematic for the application.
UL Type B lights application installation will vary from wiring one- end of the tube or two-sided or two-ended tubes. Of course, the variances depend on the fixtures you have now.
Depending on the LED replacement bulbs you require depends on the amount of light output you desire. Bypass ballast bulbs can range from $15 to $40 ( 4,000-lumens) and up to $99. These prices also depend on the quality of the lamps.
High-end LED tube light bulbs that have 4500-lumens can be around $30 a bulb. And ultra bright LED tubes with 5,000-6,000K will be $50 plus. Comparing the expense of instant-fit LED light bulb replacements to Bypass Ballast LED light bulbs are about 25% less.
Before attempting to use either of these installations, please consult with an expert in the lighting industry to ensure that you have the best information to make the changes you want to do.
Get as much information off of the existing fixture to show your qualified supplier. It will help you achieve the best way to proceed with your upgrade. There are some reputable websites that you can get this information.
One site that I recommend is Philips, Philips provides philips.com/instafit that shows information about the different applications.
Always refer to a certified electrician that is licensed and bonded for your particular application.
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