Lighting Facts

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Reasons to Replace Your T8 Fluorescent Tubes With LED T8s

As LED technology advances and more LED lamps enter this world, there are myriad reasons why you should switch out your existing flourescent bulbs for the promise of energy efficiency. 

Take one of the most common types of lighting used in commercial settings: The 4-footer fluorescent lamps, which are beyond their prime and ready to be replaced with the newer, younger more powerful T8 tubes. Lets look at some common specs for the T8s.

 

T8 LED Wattage = 17-22 watts

Lumens = 1700-2200

Avg Cost = $65/each

Avg Life = 50,000 hours

Warranty = 2-5 years

 

....compared to the T8 fluorescent tubes.

 

T8 Fluorescent Wattage = 32-60 watts

Lumens = 2300-3100

Avg Cost = $3-6/each

Avg Life = 20,000 hours

Warranty = 1-2 years

 

Clearly, LED has a leg up in regards to lifespan. But does it really make sense to switch to these over the T8 fluorescents? In-short, the answer to that is yes! There is an old saying "You never know what you got till it's gone." Well this is clearly the case with the old T-12s fluorescent as the U.S Dept. of Energy bans those lights and phased them out of the market by 2012. This major change affected commercial, retail, and institutional business and even some home residents. This will eventually be the case with the T8 fluorescent. You're probably asking yourself, why? 

To put this in perspective, over a period of more than 20 years, legislation has become law that has continued to phase out the availability of most insufficient lighting-system-components (Lamps and Ballasts). Now there is numerous examples of the impact with this regulation. One example of this you might be aware of is the elimination of the 100 watt incandescent lamp in 2012, followed by the phasing out of the 75 watt incandescent lamp in 2013 and the 60 and 40 watt lamps in 2014.

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1. Fluorescent Bulbs Contain Mercury

 

If a fluorescent lamp is broken, a small amount of mercury can contaminate the surrounding environment. About 99% of the mercury is typically contained in the phosphor, especially on lamps that are near the end of their life. The EPA recommends airing out the location of a fluorescent tube break. And of course, the broken shards of glass also pose a problem.

Any glass and towels used to clean up the area should be disposed of in a sealed plastic bag. Vacuum cleaners can cause the particles to become airborne, and should not be used. Scary, right?

 

2. Fluorescent Lights Give Off Ultraviolet Light

 

Ultraviolet emission from fluorescent lamps emit a small amount of ultraviolet (UV) light. A 1993 study in the US found that ultraviolet exposure from sitting under fluorescent lights for eight hours is equivalent to only one minute of sun exposure.

Very sensitive individuals may experience a variety of health problems relating to light sensitivity that is aggravated by artificial lighting. 

Ultraviolet light can affect sensitive paintings, especially watercolors and many textiles. Valuable art work must be protected from light by additional glass or transparent acrylic sheets put between the fluorescent lamp(s) and the painting.

3. The "Buzzing Ballast"  With Fluorescent

Magnetic single-lamp ballasts have a low power factor. Fluorescent lamps require a ballast to stabilize the current through the lamp, and to provide the initial striking voltage required to start the arc discharge.

This increases the cost of fluorescent light fixtures, though often one ballast is shared between two or more lamps. Electromagnetic ballasts with a minor fault can produce an audible humming or buzzing noise.

Magnetic ballasts are usually filled with a tar-like potting compound to reduce emitted noise. Hum is eliminated in lamps with a high-frequency electronic ballast. Energy lost in magnetic ballasts can be significant, on the order of 10% of lamp input power.

Electronic ballasts reduce this loss. Small lamps may use an incandescent lamp as a ballast if the supply voltage is high enough to allow the lamp to start.

4. Power Quality and Radio Interference

Inductive ballasts include power factor correction capacitors. Simple electronic ballasts may also have low power factor due to their rectifier input stage. 

Fluorescent lamps are a non-linear load and generate harmonic currents in the electrical power supply. The arc within the lamp may generate radio frequency noise, which can be conducted through power wiring. Suppression of radio interference is possible.

Good suppression is possible, but adds to the cost of the fluorescent fixtures.

5. Not As Efficient At High and Low Temperatures

Fluorescent lamps operate best around room temperature. At much lower or higher temperatures, efficiency decreases.

At below-freezing temperatures standard lamps may not start. Special lamps may be needed for reliable service outdoors in cold weather.

In applications such as road and railway signaling, fluorescent lamps which do not generate as much heat as incandescent lamps may not melt snow and ice build up around the lamp, leading to reduced visibility. 

LED Lights save you up to 70% of your Illumination Costs

Most Fluorescents Are Not Able To Be Dimmed

 Contaminants Cause Disposal and Recycling Issues

 Light from Fluorescent Bulbs is Non-Directional

 

LED is the best replacement to solve most of those problems that are listed, but many LED companies' prices are so high that businesses don't justify the investment for the return. But WE have special, direct relationships with four LED manufacturers that minimize our cost, which we can pass on to our customers. Plus, we offer extensive financing capabilities that allow you to receive a return on investment very quickly. Plus, we offer LED T8 Bulbs, LED Parking Fixtures, LED Wall Packs, LED Troffers and many more LED Lights that will work into your budget. Contact us today to learn how we can help you save money immediately. 

Energy Efficiency 
& Energy Costs



Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)


 
Incandescent 
Light Bulbs


 
Compact Fluorescents (CFLs)

Life Span (average)

 50,000 hours

 1,200 hours

8,000 hours

Watts of electricity used 
(equivalent to 60 watt bulb).  

 LEDs use less power  (watts) per unit of  light generated  (lumens).  LEDs help  reduce greenhouse  gas emissions from  power plants and  lower electric bills

6 - 8 watts

60 watts

13-15 watts

Kilo-watts of Electricity used   
(30 Incandescent Bulbs per year equivalent) 

329 KWh/yr.

3285 KWh/yr.

767 KWh/yr.

Annual Operating Cost   
(30 Incandescent Bulbs per year equivalent) 

$32.85/year

$328.59/year

$76.65/year

Environmental 
Impact


Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)


 
Incandescent 
Light Bulbs


 
Compact Fluorescents (CFLs)

Contains the TOXIC Mercury 

No

No

Yes - Mercury is very toxic to your health and the environment

RoHS Compliant

Yes

Yes

No - contains 1mg-5mg of Mercury and is a major risk to the environment

Carbon Dioxide Emissions   
(30 bulbs per year) 

 Lower energy consumption decreases:  CO2 emissions, sulfur  oxide, and high-level  nuclear waste. 

451 pounds/year

4500 pounds/year

1051 pounds/year

Important Facts



Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)


 
Incandescent 
Light Bulbs


 
Compact Fluorescents (CFLs)

Sensitivity to low temperatures

None

Some

Yes - may not work under negative 10 degrees Fahrenheit or over 120 degrees Fahrenheit

Sensitive to humidity

No

Some

Yes

On/off Cycling    
Switching a CFL on/off quickly, in a closet for instance, may decrease the lifespan of the bulb.

No Effect

Some

Yes  - can reduce lifespan drastically

Turns on instantly

Yes

Yes

No - takes time to warm up

Durability

Very Durable - LEDs can handle jarring and bumping

Not Very Durable - glass or filament can break easily

Not Very Durable - glass can break easily

Heat Emitted

3.4 btu's/hour

85 btu's/hour

30 btu's/hour

Failure Modes 

Not typical

Some

Yes - may catch on fire, smoke, or omit an odor

Light Output



Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)


 
Incandescent 
Light Bulbs


 
Compact Fluorescents (CFLs)

Lumens

Watts

Watts

Watts

450

4-5

40

9-13

800

6-8

60

13-15

1,100

9-13

75

18-25

1,600

16-20

100

23-30

2,600

25-28

150

30-55

 To Learn More About These & other facts, Visit US Department of Energy