Are newer fluorescent fixtures significantly more efficient then older ones?

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Old 12-03-14, 07:19 PM
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Are newer fluorescent fixtures significantly more efficient then older ones?

I pulled down five fluorescent fixtures in the garage when I dry-walled it and painted it white. Now its brighter and requires far less lighting. I need to decide which two of the previous mismatched fixtures to reinstall. Two of them are clearly older and sturdier. "They just don't make them like they used to" definitely applies to the newer ones. They're so flimsy that I could probably dislodge or break the bulbs by manually twisting the frame. The ceilings so short in the garage so they will probably get struck at some point, possibly by my head. On the other hand energy efficiency has only increased over time, I don't know if that's all because of new bulbs or if the fixture is also to thank.
So I have three options:
Use the older fixtures as they are
Pull the guts out of the newer fixture and put it in the sturdy older fixture
Use the newer fixtures as they are (assuming above is too complicated)
Any related feedback is appreciated.
 
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Old 12-03-14, 07:26 PM
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Whatever advice you get and whatever fixtures you use, use the protective plastic tubes that fit over the bulbs. Pretty sure they make them for T-8s now as well T12s. That's assuming these are exposed bulb fixtures.
 
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Old 12-03-14, 07:39 PM
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They are exposed. I will put a wire basket under it once I find something suitable. Do the tubes add any strength or is it all about containing the mercury when they do break?
 
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Old 12-03-14, 07:51 PM
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More about containment I guess...though prob a bit of impact resistance to small taps. Won't stop a hard smack with a stepladder. I've just always used them. Prob my military background? Pretty cheap and really don't make a bulb change that much harder.
 
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Old 12-03-14, 10:18 PM
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Newer fixtures with T8 or T5 tubes and electronic ballasts DO provide more light per watt consumed but the question is really will the reduced electrical use warrant the capital cost of replacement fixtures? Unless you have the lights on for significant periods of time I would think not.

Case in point, my kitchen is dark even at noontime on a sunny day which means I have to turn on the lights. I could have a tubular skylight installed for around $300 (or could have a few years ago) but the cost of the electricity for the incandescent lamps is so low that it would take close to ten years to break even over the cost of the skylight. I can replace the remaining three incandescents with LEDs for a cost of about $60 today (I already installed one LED several months ago) and drop the electrical consumption about 85%. The payback from that action would be significantly better than the skylight but still would take a couple of years or more to recover the capital cost.
 
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Old 12-04-14, 02:23 AM
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I recently replaced my old T-12 fluorescent tubes with T-8 LED tubes not all of them at once but just a few for now and the lighting is really remarkable it is like night and day. They are expensive though for a whole kit which when I bought my kits a couple of months ago they were $55.00 but included two tubes, the tomb stones for one side and some connectors. I also though bought some tomb stones for the other side as I thought they needed to be replaced so total cost was around $56.00 not including electrical tape and wire nuts.

You don't need a ballast with those so no more ballast hum and that saves on electricity some too. The kind I bought too is only wired on one side and the tubes are made of plastic so even if they dropped you really couldn't break them unless you were real rough with them. You can also buy a type that uses a ballast but I preferred to buy the kind that didn't. The ones that don't require a ballast though are harder to find locally so I bought them online. I bought them here they have videos on their website Total Lighting Supply Videos.

I agree though the newer fluorescent tubes are better rated than the old ones and especially the T-8 which is replacing the T-12 but I really believe that LED is the way of the future.
 
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Old 12-04-14, 08:50 AM
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Newer fixtures with T8 or T5 tubes and electronic ballasts DO provide more light per watt consumed but the question is really will the reduced electrical use warrant the capital cost of replacement fixtures?
There is no capital cost since I'm selecting from what I already have. On further investigation I'm pretty certain the older ones fall into the non electronic ballast category. The older lamps have a black box about the size and shape of a brick cut in half the long way, one of them has the replaceable cylindrical starters. One ballast had the number 1960 on it (possibly the date!). The new ones have a chip that's small enough to fit between the contact points for the two bulbs on one side. If I can't easily swap the old for the new maybe I'll look into an LED conversion as described by user Hedgeclippers because I'm becoming enamored with the quality of the old fixtures.
 
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Old 12-04-14, 01:23 PM
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In my opinion the biggest advantage of T-8s is that the electronic ballasts are silent. Magnetic ballast T-12s drive me crazy. There really isn't a good reason to do T-5s in residential based on initial cost and short ceiling height. LED is very expensive upfront, but if you run the lights a lot there could be a payback. You won't have as much selection in color temp and CRI in LED as you will with T-8s lamps.
 
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Old 12-11-14, 10:31 PM
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Yes, replace 'em

This is my first post, but hopefully more will follow.

In answer to replacing the old fluorescents... Yes, you should.
But first go to Costco... I was there two days ago (12-10-14), and saw a skid full of 4' LED fixtures that looked identical to a T8 4' 2 tube fixture.
Here in Richmond, VA, at that Costco, they were $38 a fixture.
The light was a perfect color... I think +/-3000-3500 K.
I almost picked up a couple for myself, and I don't really need 'em
That price is about the same as a fluorescent equal, and promises dramatic life, no mercury, and less energy.

No, I don't work for Costco, but I go where the deals are

Hope this helps.
 
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