How to replace T8 Fluorescent Lamps with T8 LED Tubes
Fluorescent was once the cost-effective and environmentally preferred lighting solution. But as technology has grown over recent years, LED lighting has turned the tide in it's favor. Despite fluorescent being efficient themselves, T8 LEDs hold a number of advantages when comparing the two.
- Light Quality - LED's produce light in a variety of color temperatures which are similar to fluorescent, but do not exhibit the flickering issues.
- Dimmable - There are many LED options with complete dimming qualities. Fluorescents are expensive to dim and do not do it as effectively as LEDs.
- Energy Efficient - On average, new T8 LED tubes are around 30% more efficient than Fluorescent T8 tubes.
- Mercury Free - LEDS are mercury free, making them environmentally friendly and free from recycling fees.
- Easier to Control - Fluorescent lights burn out faster when controls are administered (like occupancy sensors). LEDs have no such problem as their lifespan is not affected by being turned on or off.
- Directional Lighting - LEDs offer effective directional lighting, allowing light to be illuminated where it is needed. Fluorescents produce multi-directional light, meaning some light is lost within the fixture.
- Lifespan- The average life of a T8 Linear Fluorescent Lamp is 30,000 hours, while a T8 LED will last 50,000 hours. That said there are newer linear fluorescent T8 lamps that can last up to 84,000 hours.
The major downside of LED lighting is the initial cost, which can be five to ten times that of LFL. But when you consider tax incentives, rebates and long-term energy savings, LED's will produce a ROI faster than you might expect. Premier Lighting will work with you to analyze your unique situation and provide a cost/benefit analysis for your LFL to LED switch. You will have a few options for going forward with LED T8s.
Type A - LED tube has an Integrated Driver for use on Existing Fluorescent Ballast
Type A LED tubes need an existing T8 electronic ballast to operate. If you have T8 electronic ballasts this makes installation very easy. All you need to do is remove the existing T8 fluorescent lamp and install a new T8 LED Type A lamp. However, using an existing ballast is not as efficient as the methods further below as their lifespan is affected due to the ballast needing to be replaced before the LED itself.
Type B - LED tube has an Internal Driver and is Wired to Main Voltage
Type B LED Tubes require the ballasts be removed from the existing light fixture and the power is then wired directly to the sockets. This results in no power loss as power is not wasted in the ballast, making them much more efficient than Type A bulbs. Not having the ballast also lessens future maintenance costs as it will not have to be replaced. Naturally the downsides include initial maintenance modifications, as the ballasts are removed as well as potentially having to replace the sockets. Installation can also be dangerous with connecting sockets to power wires - strict safety measures are required. This adds to a higher total installation cost though the long-term efficiency outweighs Type A's setup.
Type C - LED tube has Remote Driver to power LED
The big difference between the Type B LED tubes are that instead of an internal driver, Type C LED tubes utilize a remote driver to power the LED. One remote driver can power multiple LED tubes; this system is quite similar to how linear fluorescent lighting currently operates. Type C installations still require fluorescent ballasts being removed. They boast maximized functionality such as motion-based control systems. Like a Type B installation, Type C requires an extensive installation process that costs more than Type A.
Type A -> B - Combo-Drive LED T8 Bulbs that work on ballast and line voltage
New to the LED T8 market are ComboDrive LED T8 lamps, designed by Keystone. Many manufacturers have attempted this product but finally a reliable manufacturer has perfected the technology. ComboDrive LED T8 lamps will run on existing fluorescent ballasts, and then when the ballast dies they can be wired up direct to line voltage (120-277V). They are compatible with most instant start and program start electronic ballasts. Only available in 15W at this time, in the coming years they are sure to grow in popularity due to their versatility.