Upgrading your existing fluorescent tubes isn't just a way to save money, it also helps make your work environment safer for everyone. LED tubes don't have any harmful mercury, and they last for up to 50,000 lifetime hours! Here are some important factors to consider when switching over.
What Type is Best For You?
There are three types of T8 tubes of which you should be aware: Direct Wire, Ballast Compatible, and Universal. Direct Wire tubes are exactly what the name suggests, they are wired directly and do not require the use of a ballast to function. Ballast Compatible tubes require a ballast to operate, but do not require any addition wiring and instead plug into the existing sockets. This operation is commonly referred to as Plug and Play, since they work immediately after plugging them in without any additional work.
The last type, Universal, is a combination of direct wire and ballast compatible, letting you use the tube in either application. Usually, they are used as ballast compatible until the ballast reaches the end of its life, then the tube is used as if it were a direct wire tube for the rest of its lifespan. Knowing which application will be implemented is key in determining which T8 LED tubes to install.
Frosted or Clear
This is a less common factor that can be overlooked if you aren't exploring all of your options. By far, the frosted tubes are the most popular option for a couple reasons. First, its design hides the LEDs within the tube, where the clear tubes do not. Frosted tubes also provide a uniform light output, which is identical to the less efficient fluorescent counterparts. If illumination is something you are worried about, then clear tubes would be the better option. Because there is no diffuser for the light to pass through, the maximum lumen output is going to be greater. Depending on your application you may want a frosted lens for warehouse lighting and clear for an office. It's mainly a personal preference since both are efficient and produce quality light at an affordable price.
Double Ended or Single Ended Direct Wire
When purchasing a Direct Wire tube, it's important to know how the tube is going to be wired. There are two options: single ended power and double ended power. Both get the job done, but there is a minor difference. Double ended power takes power through the tube into the tombstones on the other side, while single ended power is wired on just one end. Overall, it has been proved that double sided power is a slightly safer application.
Last but not least, it's important to know if your application is eligible for rebates from your local energy supplier. Certification like DLC Listed and DLC Premium can be eligible for certain rebates, depending on their current requirements. Be sure to check the official DOE website for any potential savings.
Those are a majority of the important decision you'll have to make when upgrading your old fluorescent lighting. You can find more articles posted weekly here, and find a variety of LED T8 Tubes here.