The Shop Upgrade You Should Consider – Fluorescent Lights to LED
Are you still using fluorescent lighting options in your facility or workshop? If yes, you are not alone. Most shops have used or use fluorescent lighting over the country. However, if you still rely on fluorescents, it is probably time you re-evaluate your decision.
Now, think, are these lighting options any good? Does this light brighten up dim and dark areas well? Do you need to strain the eyes for seeing the fine particulars or can you actually work fine in fluorescent light?
Are you tired and sick of those buzzing ballasts and flickering bulbs? How often do you replace faulty fluorescent tubes or ballast? Or when do you replace these lights? Do you need to take extra care for making sure that these lights are properly-disposed of?
When people are overwhelmed by such common problems, then need to consider converting their fluorescent lighting options to amazing LED Lights for Shops. Surely, LEDs can make a huge difference to your facilities, your employees, and you in the long and short term.
With LED lighting options, consumers can lower their electricity bills by more than 50%. Also, this eliminates operating charges too. As LEDs do not have mercury, unlike a fluorescent fixture, disposing of these lighting options when you are thru is as simple as recycling and tossing them in the trash.
In past few years, if you have considered LEDs, you know these lights are more costly as compared to other less effective lights. However, in recent some years, with the progress in technology, LED lighting options have become less expensive. Although these lights are expensive, it is a tiny margin as they payback immediately.
So, LED lights have no maintenance charges, a remarkably longer lifespan, and are energy-efficient. As a result, consumers enjoy meaningful savings right from their installation. Also, after recouping the charges of LED lights, people can save extra on energy bills for a fixture’s life.
Options to convert your shop to LED
When it comes to converting fluorescent lights to LEDs, there are two methods available out there. Replacing (getting rid of the whole fixture) or retrofitting (using the existing fixture). Regardless of which you chose, make sure you work with a licensed electrician so that your property is ready for any future inspections.
When you retrofit a fixture, it is quite less expensive. However, this option is available for specific cases only. Here, you will find a discussion about which method you should go with for determining the right path for the lights in your facility.
Retrofit fluorescent light fixtures to LEDs
If you like to keep the existing shop lights but still like to switch to LED, then you have two options – magnetic retrofit kit strips or led tubes.
While it is not at all complicated to retrofit a fixture, it is suggested that you should use a certified electrician to do so. Eliminating a tube and ballast as well as rewiring for a single-ended tube could be complicated if you are not a professional electrician.
They appear just as a fluorescent bulb. You need to install these tubes inside the fixture’s lamp holders. Essentially, there are two kinds of LED tubes: ballast compatible or direct connect.
Direct connect LED lights bypass the light ballast. Meaning that you are directly wiring ac to the bulb holder. Also, many direct connect LED tubes are one-ended power. Thus, you require un-shunted bulb holders.
On contrary, ballast compatible led tubes can make use of the current ballast. Now, this seems to a good option. However, there are several cautions.
Not all ballasts will function for this way and the ballast can fail at some point.
Magnetic Strip Retrofit Kits
These kits are another option. This method is the one that we suggest. These retrofit kits feature magnets on their back, which help them in attaching to the metallic light fixture.
LED strips do not employ the bulb holders. Instead, they employ LED Drivers, which is installed to replace your fluorescent ballast.
These retrofit kits are superior to the other option. This is because LED drivers actually are exterior to LEDs. Here, people do not need to be concerned about ballasts deteriorating or making sure that they have non-shunted bulb holders.
Plus, it enables the magnetic strips to employ the metal enclosure of the fixture as a heating sink. Now, this could extend the already amazing life of LEDs.
Replacing old shop fixtures with new LED fixtures
Another option to install fresh LED lighting fixtures in the workshop. This option is perfect for neglected or damaged fluorescent fixtures. It is more costly when compared to retrofitting. Having this method, the old lighting fixture is eliminated and replaced completely with the fresh light fixture.
In the market, there are various LED options present for replacing fluorescent shop lighting fixtures, like linear design, vapor tight light fixtures, round UFO style, and low bay style High Bays LEDs.
Each fixture is matched to a diverse purpose. Also, completely getting rid of the fixture offers you impressive light distribution. Plus, it enables you to exactly determine what you require for your area.
Swapping to LED lighting fixtures from fluorescent shop lights
As compared to the fluorescent counterparts, LED lights offer a better, brighter light. LED lights were specially intended to be usable and durable, which makes them great for shop lighting.
The LEDs’ sealed housing keeps away debris and flies from the lighting fixture. In turn, this reduces the work amount required for maintaining the shop lighting.
The most manageable and cost-effective alternative to fluorescents is LED lighting options. These lights have the identical diameter to fluorescents, usually either 8 ft or 4 ft long. This makes them great for replacing the current fixtures without many alterations.
6 Reasons Why You Should Replace your Fluorescent Shop Lighting
1. LED Lights reduces energy bill by more than 50%
LEDs were designed for efficiency. Although fluorescents might be energy-efficient than other kinds of lamps, they could not compete with LEDs. However, how much can you save by converting to LEDs from fluorescents? Let’s have a look at a few common scenarios.
Usually, a typical T8 fluorescent lamp draws 32W and put in 15% ballast consumption and the consumed total watts are approximately 37W per fluorescent tube.
Typically, a High Output T5 fluorescent tube draws 54W (usually). So, along with 15% ballast consumption, the total consumed watts by this lighting option are approximately 62W per fluorescent bulb.
LED efficiency (lumens/watt) has significantly enhanced over the recent years. In striking contrast to alike fluorescent lighting options, it is practical to expect LED lights to work at 150-180 lumens each watt. Meaning that people can simply swap a two-tube T8 fluorescent light with 212-Watt LED bulbs or 1 24W LED Lighting Option.
So, if take the above situation and change two fluorescent tubes that consume 74W in total per fixture, it is better to switch. On converting to LEDs, it can result in a 66% reserves margin.
And, when you have hundreds or even tens of these light fixtures, as many shops do, you will observe that the figure is more noteworthy.
2. LED Lights can reduce the maintenance costs
An average fluorescent light fixture’s expected lifespan can be somewhere between 7,000 hours and 15,000 hours. However, these hours are not quite usable. So, when you use fluorescent fixtures more, their light quality degrades quicker.
Just because lights switch on, it does not signify that they feature an effective light output. In the middle of the lifespan of fluorescents, you will find a perceptible change in their light output. Due to this, you will need to replace your fluorescent lighting options frequently.
On contrary, LED lighting options do not go through this degradation. The lighting of LEDs is rated at L70. Now, this L70 measurement refers to the time taken by a light for reaching 70 percent of the original lumens. In case of LEDs, one can assume the L70 ratings to be somewhere between 50,000 hours and 100,000 hours.
To discuss, let’s presume a product’s L70 is just 50,000 hours. So, when your LED reaches the L70 point, you will have burned around four comparable fluorescents.
If a shop owner makes a decision to change fluorescent tubes when they aren’t needed instead of stop working physically, you make it to the sixth number of your tube. For cutting maintenance costs, you need to convert to LED lights.
3. LED Lights do not strobe or flicker
When someone thinks about a fluorescent light, they mostly think about the terrified flickering that fluorescent light fixtures are quite popular for. The ballasts of fluorescents work on the AC current, where AC operates at about 60 Hz in North America.
Meaning that the present cycles switch on and switch off around 60 times every second. Now, this process occurs faster that it is not often detected. However, persons who really work under the fluorescent light report complaints regarding headaches and eye strain.
Plus, you will observe that the flickering become more noticeable when a fluorescent light fixture approaches the end of its life.
LED light fixtures employ a unique LED driver for converting AC to DC. As compared to AC, DC doesn’t cycle but supplies a continuous energy supply.
Thus, even though LEDs take AC power technically, these lights will not flicker. If your LED lighting options are flickering, this could be because of faulty drivers. If so, you can replace it so easily.
4. Fluorescent tubes have mercury
One of the dangerous, but lesser-known attributes of a fluorescent light is that they contain mercury. It’s an essential part of fluorescent tubes and going to be safe until the fluorescent light is not damaged or broken. Mercury should be carefully handled as it is a popular carcinogen.
Many states follow strict disposal rules and regulations for mercury, and thus, for fluorescents too. One cannot toss it in garbage bins or take it to landfills.
To make things worse, fluorescent tubes or bulbs are manufactured with glass. And, glass is potentially harmful as well as extremely fragile. If you drop them, fixtures can shatter and release the mercury.
Also, glass shards are going to be everywhere. Thus, it can turn quickly into a dangerous state for workers working in the proximity.
LED lights do not have mercury. Plus, these lights are often manufactured with a sturdy plastic. Thus, there is nothing to be worried about potential harm when the light shatters or right disposal techniques. One can throw these old lights in the bin and replace them with the new one.
5. LEDs work well with motion sensors
An amazing way to enhance efficiency in a workshop is to get motion or occupancy sensors installed. This makes sure that lighting is off when someone leaves the area and on when someone is there.
Unfortunately, it highly affects the bulb’s light when you install motion sensors in fluorescent lights. Every time you switch on the fluorescent tube, some mercury dust burns off. Also, once that is gone, the fluorescent tube stops functioning.
On contrary, switching on and switching off LED lights does not disturb their life. Also, employing motion and occupancy sensors with LEDs are truly encouraged.
6. LED Lights are dimmable
Now, dimming lights work great when you attach them to occupancy sensors or motion sensors. They are also perfect for areas that are too bright. Apart from helping to create an ideal work space, dimming lights can help people save expenses on their lighting bills.
Almost all fluorescent lighting solutions are nothing or all. Meaning that you can only turn them on and off with no choice in-between. However, some fluorescent lights are dimmable. The only problem is that they need special ballasts to work.
Both of them are pretty expensive. If you are willing to put extra expenses on your special fluorescent light fixtures and a devoted ballast, it is highly recommended to switch to LEDs. Only then, you will see enhancements over all fronts and not with dimming alone.
About the Author
Dwayne Kula is President of LED Lighting Supply. On any given day, Dwayne is writing content for the site and helps manage the marketing initiatives that are on-going. He has a Software Engineering degree and still dabbles in writing software for the company as needed. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, working out, playing the occasional game of golf and exploring New England.