Fluorescent lighting is one of the largest consumers of electricity within the US market. And with an estimated 2 billion fluorescent sockets installed in residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and retail spaces, the market for fluorescent lighting is definitely strong. But what about the newer LED T8 replacements? Is LED T8 the best option for your home or business?
Light emitting diode (LED) fluorescent tubes are beginning to become a popular option for many Americans but how do they measure up to fluorescent lighting?
The experienced electricians at Burley Electrical have provided the following information to help educate you on making an informed choice between fluorescent lighting and the newer T8 LED replacements.
• How to LED Fluorescent Tubes Compare? LED fluorescent tubes are more energy efficient, less harmful to the environment and more economical than their traditional fluorescent tube counterparts
• What is an LED Fluorescent tube? An LED florescent tube is actually a contradiction of terms. LED lighting and fluorescent lighting have absolutely nothing in common. LED’s are small bulbs that are illuminated by the movement of electrons within a diode. Fluorescent tubes however use electrodes and a combination of gas notably argon and mercury to produce light. Therefore the name LED Fluorescent tube is used to remind us of a traditional fluorescent tube that we probably see every day in our homes, office buildings and retail stores. An LED tube is made up of hundreds and hundreds of tiny individual LED’s. LED tubes are available in a variety of sizes including 2, 4 and 6 feet along with different temperatures and varying levels of LED’s.
• What are the Uses for LED Fluorescent Tubes? LED’s can be purchased with new fixtures, or used for retrofitting existing fixtures. One of the pluses of an LED is that it does not require the ballasts that traditional fluorescents need, the downside being the ballast will need to be removed when replacing fluorescent tubes with LED tubes.
When comparing LED’s to fluorescent tubes, there are four key elements that should be considered before making your selection:
1. Lumens – is the unit measurement for the strength of the light. Look for tubes with 1500 lumens for more or superior efficiency.
2. Watts – this is the unit of measurement that is required for power consumption. For example a four-foot LED tube uses approximately 15 to 25 watts, while traditional fluorescent tubes of the same size use 30 watts or more.
3. Longevity – This is the lifespan of the bulb and is measured in hours. 50,000 is common for LED tubes.
4. Color temperature – The temperature of the light is actually the color of the light. It is measured in units of temperature or kelvin (K) for example 3000K is warm (red), 4100K is neutral and 5800K is cool (blue).
Advantages and Disadvantages of LED and Fluorescent tubes
Fluorescent tubes are a great invention and have been lighting most of American since 1938. They are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and they last 20 times longer. On the downside, fluorescent tubes contain mercury and phosphor which can cause harm to the environment. Fluorescent tubes require a ballast to operate which adds to the initial cost and can often cause a buzzing sound when the light is turned on. LED bulbs last longer than fluorescent tubes and they there is no risk of harmful chemicals such as mercury; another bonus is that LED’S use much less power than fluorescent lamps. Still LED’s also have their downside; the tubes are not as bright and can be more expensive up front.