With lower prices and new technology, it’s more affordable and easier than ever to upgrade to LED linear lighting.
Trusted manufacturers have lowered their LED lighting prices, so businesses no longer need to use less-known brands to lower costs. Return on investments (ROIs) are also shorter, often less than one year.
When you include the warranties and rebates on LED linear lighting, lower prices, and faster ROIs, it doesn’t make sense to wait to convert your fluorescent and LED lamps.
Linear LED Lighting Solutions Available Today
You have four options when you’re switching from linear fluorescent to LED, and each is best suited for a specific use.
- Plug-and-play or direct fit linear LED (UL type A) is the simplest option. The LED lamp is compatible with the fluorescent ballast. There’s no rewiring involved, and you also don’t have to move the ballast.
- Ballast-bypass, line voltage, or direct wire linear LED (UL type B) require you to remove the ballast. It works directly off the voltage flowing directly from the electrical sockets.
- LED lamp and driver (UL type C) solutions include the purchase of an LED lighting driver and linear LED lamps. The driver replaces the fluorescent ballast, and the lamps are changed out for energy-efficient LED lamps.
- Hybrid or dual technology linear LED (UL type A & B) lighting options are a cost-effective long-term solution. The LED lamp is compatible with a fluorescent ballast, and line voltage. When the ballast wears out, you don’t need to replace it.
Some of the above terms can be a bit confusing if you are not a lighting specialist. We have an entire blog dedicated to explaining LED vs. Fluorescent Ballasts. It will give you insights into what type of LED conversion you need to consider.
Pros and Cons of Today’s Linear Lighting Solutions
Each LED linear lighting solution has advantages and downsides. Below we will review the top Pros and Cons you need to keep in mind.
Plug-and-Play LED Lighting
Is easy to install, the LED lamp snaps into the existing socket without the need for rewiring. It is the most cost-effective solution and the safest for the installers. They are only replacing the lamps, not moving the ballast. The ballast also helps protect the LED lamp from power surges that can shorten its lifespan.
Downsides to the lighting solution include,
- Not all fluorescent ballasts are compatible with linear LED lamps.
- You will still pay for ballast maintenance and replacement.
Ballast-bypass LED Lighting
Removing the ballast eliminates maintenance and replacement costs. It also reduces energy costs, saving you even more. The LED lamp saves on utility usage, and now you don’t have a ballast drawing added power. The savings are only a few watts, but it adds up over time.
Before you decide to eliminate your fluorescent ballasts, consider the downsides.
- The electrical sockets will need to be rewiring (non-shunted) after the ballast is removed, and there aren’t any set industry standards for the new wiring. It depends on the type of LED lamp.
- California businesses need to meet Title 24 requirements for all LED lighting retrofit projects. It may interfere with your initial plan, cost more to rework the original idea.
- Not all sockets are compatible with LED lamps. Yours may need to be rewired or replaced.
Did you know we have an eBook dedicated to explaining the process and savings associated with replacing fluorescent lamps with LED fixtures or linear LED tubes? You can download it here, for FREE!
LED Lamp and Driver Lighting
You don’t have to worry about ballast compatibility or accidentally inserting an old fluorescent lamp. Fluorescent light sources won’t snap into an LED driver. The driver is also compatible with your chosen LED lamps. Drivers require less maintenance and are more energy-efficient.
You have a lot of reasons to consider this LED lighting option, but it also has a few potential downsides.
- California businesses must meet Title 24 requirements.
- Labor and material costs are higher than some other lighting options.
Dual Technology LED Lighting
You get to use your fluorescent ballasts until they wear out, before switching to direct wiring. Installation is a breeze, the LED lamps are plug and play without any rewiring. Costs can be spread out as each ballast eventually fails. It also shortens labor since not all ballasts are being replaced at once.
The downsides are the same as with your other lighting solutions. Eventually, you will pay for labor and socket rewiring. You also have the risk of a fluorescent lamps accidentally being used after the line socket is retrofitted for LED.
Choosing the Right LED Linear Lighting Solution
You want to start by choosing a reputable LED lighting manufacturer or a turn-key LED retrofit service provider. Look for product warranties and companies that stand by their products and services.
Take a look at your current lighting and factor in your budget. Plug-and-Play is the least expensive, but ballast-bypass is another popular option. Direct-wire LED simplifies maintenance, and dual technology LED lets you replace ballasts over time.
To speak with one of our LED lighting specialist to help you select the best option for your organization, call 610-558-9773 or email [email protected] for assistance, or schedule a call below.