I have a couple 8' fluorescent fixtures that need either new ballasts or alternatively complete replacement. Thinking about possibly using some LED fixtures, (not just the bulbs), but there's a lot of information out there and hard to nail down real world comparisons. So if anyone has switched over how do they compare to the traditional T-12 8' bulbs?
My lights are roughly 16' off the floor, do the LED's work as well/better/worse at those heights?
Any other information I need to consider to compare and decide which direction to go? I like the idea of having LED lights which supposedly don't flicker at cold temps and don't require replacing every few years, (especially since getting to bulbs 16' off the floor is not an easy task!!!), but I'd love to get some real world input before deciding.
We changed out all of our 8' T12s to 4'T8s a few years ago. Now we are replacing lamps with LED T8s as the fluorescents dim. Direct replacement for the fluorescents, no ballast change required. We tested both 4K & 5K and went with the 5000 Kelvin lamps. We ordered kits to change over the 8' fixtures to 4'. Kit includes ballast, sockets & cover. The 4' LED lamps cost about $11. We've got almost 600 lamps in the shop & office. The LEDs run on about 20% less power for same output. They should last much longer so in the long run cheaper.
I considered them, but went with 4 lamp t-5 fixtures instead. The reason being is that the LED fixture was the same wattage as the T5 (approx 232 watts), but the lumen output was considerably less.
I purchased the 4 lamp decorative from e-conolight.com when they had a 20% off sale and buy 30 at a time for a price of about $65 per fixture delivered.
One thing that irks me about the new electronic ballast is they always fail. The T12's I replaced were the originals from 1956 and still worked. The new electronic ballast always fail not long after the warranty expires. I swear they have a chip in them and program them to fail!
The ballast, or should I say lack thereof, is probably the single biggest advantage to me. Generally the decent ones will last a good long while, but if I don't need to replace it period, then why bother? Still have to replace bulbs every few years!
As I said my lights are a good 16' off the floor so will need to rent a scissor lift to replace. As such rather just do it once. No kits, no swapping ballasts, no replacing bulbs.....seems like a no brainer! I just have no experience with them outside the bulbs at home, so figured someone here may be using them by now. May just do 5 or 6 for now and see how they work. Of course then I need to make sure the color is close to the fluorescents or things may start looking weird?
LED lights are the best, there is really no argument to say that florescent are better these days as the selection is getting better by the day.
Keep in mind there are only two main characteristics you want to consider:
Temperature (In degrees Kelvin, warm or cool white, or somewhere between, there is always a graphical chart showing the temps on the package. Try to make all of your lights the same color temperature, it makes for a more balanced shop light.
Lumens: Companies love their marketing, don't look at the equivalent values because they are always rounded up. Find out how many lumens your current lights put out and either match it or go up as needed.
The consumption will almost always be better on well made LEDs, and while they are expensive to implement in many cases still they pay off in the long run. Put in the LEDs and you will never look back.
Ok took a look at the local box store this weekend and so far am very disappointed. None of the LED's they carried were as bright as the fluorescents! From my experience using them at home the LED replacement bulbs are as bright or brighter than their equivalent incandescents. But the 4' strips they carried were all dimmer both visibly and based on Lumens. The only ones that were comparably bright were significantly more expensive than there Fluorescent counterparts.
So anyway am re-thinking my decision. May either go with the same basic 4'/8' T-12 fixtures I already have, or alternatively may start looking into the T-5 HO fixtures. They seemed exceptionally bright with far higher Lumen output than the T-12's. Sooooo.....anyone have any experience or info on the T-5 HO's?
Thanks Jim! Since you have them let me ask you this....do you think it would be odd to have a combination of the normal T-12's, (which I don't want to replace), with a handful of T-5's selectively placed? Or am I better off forgetting any change at all and just replacing the couple ballasts that are gone and adding a couple more T-12's?
I am replacing the T12's as they go out with the T5. Most of the T12 fixtures are pretty old (over 10 years) so when the bulbs go out, I replace the entire fixture. No reason to keep the T12 bulbs anymore. Have a little over 1/2 the shop into T5.
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