Have you lately been thinking about replacing your incandescent lights with LED tube lights? The process can be daunting, especially if you are not an electrician.
Before undertaking the process, however, you need to know everything about LED tube lights. Armed with such information, you can now make the changes successfully without risking or making a mistake.
We will begin by discussing the significant advantages of installing LEDs over fluorescent bulbs. We’ll then proceed to discuss the different types available and other issues to do with installation. Stay with us.
Benefits of LED Tube Lights
Many reasons make LED tube lights better choices than fluorescent or incandescent lights. Delving into the science of LEDs is beyond the scope of this article. However, we have deduced a few advantages you will likely get from installing them.
The most important benefits include:
- High energy efficiency (can cut energy costs by 30 to 50 percent
- Longer lifespans typically 50k hours or even more
- Offers better light output compared to incandescent lights
- It does not emit dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiations
- Rugged construction is resistant to impact and elements
- It does not produce hazardous chemicals such as mercury
Fluorescent tube sizes vs. LED tube light retrofits
As you may know, fluorescent lights are installed on the ceiling and are usually connected directly to the mains electricity. Due to this, many people with little or no experience find it difficult and costly to replace them entirely.
It, therefore, makes little economic sense to simply use the preexisting fluorescent fixture while replacing the fluorescent tube with LED tubes lights.
You must hence understand the different types and sizes that are currently in the market. This will allow you to retrofit the appropriate LED tube light in place.
Since its inception, fluorescent tube manufacturers have come up with many different sizes and types. For instance, the most typical models are Four-foot T8 (T8 4-ft) fluorescent lamps which measure 48 inches in length and 1-inch lamp diameter.
Another size is T12 4-ft which is less efficient compared to T8 4-ft. This is because they have the same length but 1.5inches in diameter. Lastly, there is T5 4-ft which is the most efficient and the latest.
They provide more brightness than their T8 counterparts and come in a variety of lengths. Therefore, they can be used in non-ceiling fixtures like table lamps.
LED tube lights are designed to emulate the mechanical dimensions to be accurate and fitting retrofits. Moreover, to make things simpler, the lights adopt similar form factor names. In other words, they are cross-compatible. For example, a T8 LED light tube perfectly replaces T8 4-ft fluorescent lamps.
Fluorescent Ballasts vs. LED Light Tube Retrofit
Fluorescent tubes feature a component called ballast which regulates the brightness of the lamp as it warms up. These traditional lamps cannot work without ballast as they must not be connected directly to the power source.
Since the ballast is housed within the fluorescent lamp fixture, you can only access it by unmounting the fixture from the ceiling. Altering the ballast can cause a lot of problems, including damage to the fixture. It may call for the experience and services of an electrician.
Luckily, some brands of LED tube lights allow you to bypass the ballast to retrofit. An office can do well with 4ft LED ballast bypass tube lights which are easy to install. No electrical experience is necessary whatsoever.
Nevertheless, many models have popped up lately that do not require you to bypass the ballast. Instead, they are compatible with fluorescent ballast, allowing for simple fluorescent tube replacement without rewiring.
Features and Specifications of LED Tube Lights
There are a few technical features and specifications you must know when dealing with LED lights. Correlated color temperature (CCT), lumens, and Color Rendering Index (CRI).
Correlated Color Temperature CCT: LED tubes are available in a wide range of color temperatures. In general, the color range from 2700k to 7000k. So naturally, the higher the number, the brighter the light output of the LED will be.
- Lumen Number or Luminous Flux:
This is the measure of luminous reflux, which is the total amount of light a lamp emits. This directly correlates with the brightness of the lamp. It isn’t easy to know the exact lumens a lamp should have to suit your needs. At times it boils down to experience.
While the lumens are comparable to those fluorescent lamps, how they direct the lights differ. Thus, LED tube lights will provide more valuable lumens for equivalent output because of the multidirectional way they emit light.
- Color Rendering Index (CRI):
Color rendering index defines how true and accurate an object color appears under as source of light. For example, most fluorescent lamps feature a CRI of 80, and so do LED tube lights. Such rating is the baseline for most applications, but if you want better color perception, you can go for a higher CRI rating.
Budgeting For LED Tube Lights
The initial investment for LED can be considerable. So, you have to prepare well when you decide to replace your fluorescent lamps with LED tube lights. The good news is that newer models are now becoming more affordable.
However, it still depends on the type of lamp you install. For instance, installing a UL Type A light will require you to incur additional costs. For large installations, the costs may skyrocket because of the amount of complexity involved.
Once you install the best LED tube lights successfully, it will take approximately a year for you to get a return on your investment. You also need to consider the warranty terms of the brand you intend to work with. Just make sure the return on investment is not shorter than the warranty.
There you go. Now you know the most critical things concerning LED tube lights. The new technology makes lighting offices, homes, commercial buildings, and other installations better and affordable in the long run. In addition, you will save a lot in electricity bills and repairs since LED lights have life spans of up to 50k hours.