One of the most common lights used over the last several decades has been the linear fluorescent tubes. These lights, while common don’t have the greatest performance, durability, or lifespan. In today’s article, we will look at the reason to consider replacing fluorescent linear tubes with LED tubes or fixtures. One great characteristic of the linear fluorescent fixture is that newer, more energy-efficient LED lamps can work with the existing fixture that is already installed in your facility. So there is no need to replace the fixtures that are already there.
Replacing Fluorescent Linear Tubes
For facility managers evaluating different options to replace linear fluorescent tubes with LED lighting there are two major options to choose from:
- LED Linear Lamps
- LED Fixtures
Interestingly, LED Linear Lamps are sold using similar names to their fluorescent predecessors. For example, you can purchase a bi-pin T8 LED Linear Lamp. Depending on the manufacturer, this type of light is likely to be compatible with most instant-start ballasts as well as some of the programmed-start and emergency ballasts. They can also come in line voltage and external driver models. Installing LED Fixtures for use in recessed troffers, surface mount, strip, or Highbay/Lowbay fixtures generally means replacing the entire fixture. Regardless of which option you prefer we suggest you focus on some of the following characteristics when you are looking to convert your linear fluorescent lights.
Key Characteristics when Replacing Fluorescent Linear Tubes
Bulbs that consume more energy tend to be cheaper to purchase upfront (all other things being equal). That is, you pay for lower operating costs with a higher upfront purchase price. The amount of energy consumed is measured in watts and will be readily identifiable on any packaging as well as on the light itself. That is not to say that most high-watt bulbs will be cheaper. It’s more that for a given light output, those lights that consume more energy (watts) tend to be cheaper because they are not as high quality as those that consume less energy.
LEDs render color very well and are available in a large variety of color temperatures. Additionally, LEDs have a tremendous lifespan so you won’t have the maintenance issues that are typical with linear fluorescent tubes. For an LED light that lasts 50,000 operating hours (some last more than twice this long), you will not have to replace the light for more than 17 years if you operate it every single day for 8 hours straight (more than 11 years operating for 12 hours daily).
One of the most common questions we get about LED lighting surrounds the issue of upfront costs. “Are LED light prices coming down?” The answer is yes! Prices continue to drop and along with them the opportunity costs associated with operating traditional lighting technologies like fluorescent, metal halide, HPS, or incandescent. The real question you should be asking yourself is an economic one: “does it make financial sense right now to keep operating outdated lights waiting for the price of LEDs to be perfect, or does it improve our bottom line right now to make the switch?” In most cases, we have found that businesses will save significant money now by making the investment in today’s LED lighting technology.
In summary, several different types of LEDs are available to replace linear fluorescents in recessed troffers. Whether you’re looking to simply change out bulbs with linear LED tubes or completely replace both the fixture and the light with non-tube LED lights, we recommend you focus on three items: energy efficiency, lighting quality, and purchase price. If you need help in this process reach out to us here at Action Services Group, we would be happy to work with you. Call 610-558-9773, email [email protected] or schedule a call to discuss replacing your fluorescent linear tube options.