T8 Fluorescent Bulbs vs. LED Bulbs
In the past, we have been promoting T8 lighting. T8 has been one of the cheapest options out there for high bay and office lighting retrofits for quite some time. LED technology was previously too expensive for the average consumer to purchase and install.
Why LED now?
LEDs are more efficient and effective. This development comes from the unfortunate discovery that the T8 bulbs that we had warrantied for 3 years are failing at 2.5. While they were supposed to last 40,000 hours – well beyond 3 years – we have seen several fail early.
We recently went back to warranty some bulbs that had burned out. While these bulbs were few, they were still a nuisance, and not of the proper quality for our customers. We happened to be 6 months past the warranty date. But when my installer reported that the entire building needed a re-lamp, I was stunned.
We had already been getting more involved with LED because, as we have noted in other articles, LED technology has decreased significantly in price and is now available in more styles and applications.
Plus, you can’t beat the lifetime of LED fixtures, no matter how you compare them to T8. We now offer online wholesale for commercial contractors, contact us for a quote.
One of the products we have decided to carry is a LED Replacement Bulb (4′ tube) that replaces T8 bulbs in existing T8 fluorescent fixtures. It’s a direct replacement, meaning that as long as it’s an instant start ballast or you can provide an additional power source, you don’t have to change it out.
The following are 8 fact-based reasons you should consider direct replacement LED bulbs over T8.
1. LED replacement bulbs are 30% more efficient.
Not only do you get more light from a LED replacement bulb; they also use less wattage. Our LED replacement bulbs only use 22 watts vs. 28-32 watts with T8, making the LED 30% more efficient.
2. LED is a directional light source.
The LED replacement bulbs emit light at a 110 degree pattern, vs. the 360 degree pattern given off by T8 fluorescent bulbs. In this case, only 30% of the light given off by the T8 fluorescent is actually hitting the intended target.
This means you are not using all available light because the fluorescent bulb is also lighting the fixture. That’s why fluorescent fixtures are brighter with reflectors.
3. LED bulbs transfer light vs. heat.
A LED fixture uses its energy to produce light. Most lighting sources, including fluorescent, use heat to generate light, which is why traditional incandescent, metal-halide, and fluorescent, are losing favor with property owners.
4. LEDs still give off light at end-of-life.
A fluorescent bulb at the end of its life is very simple to spot because it is dying. A T8 bulb is considered end-of-life at 60% of its light output, which equates to roughly 14,400 hours.
LED replacement bulbs, on the other hand, calculate end-of-life at 70%, which is approximately 50,000 hours. In order to keep up with LED, you would have to replace the T8 bulbs 3.5 times
5. LED replacement bulbs have no mercury.
One of the most important differences is the fact that there is no mercury or glass content with LED lighting.
In the state of Washington alone, over 10 million lamps are disposed of in landfills each year. Those 10 million lamps hold roughly 400 lb of toxic mercury waste. Washington estimates that only 2 out of 10 bulbs are effectively recycled.
6. LED does not give off UV.
LED replacement bulbs do not emit any light in the non-visible light spectrum (UV). UV/IR light causes colors to fade in fabrics and signage, while also being the leading cause of eye strain and eye fatigue.
Fluorescent T8 bulbs emit UV/IR light.
7. LED makes air conditioning more efficient.
LED fixtures contribute little to no heat to a room or air conditioned space. LED bulbs generate less heat. Less heat means the air conditioning system does not have to work as hard.
This is vitally important if you are doing a new build or upgrade, as you may be able to utilize smaller A/C systems to heat the same area.
8. LED provides 70% more light.
The beam angle of the LED replacement bulb is 110 degrees. This means that all of the light generated by the LED bulb is focused in the 110 degree area.
The T8 bulb, on the other hand, has a beam angle of 360 degrees. That means the majority of the light generated by the T8 bulb is escaping out of the sides and top of the bulb, which does not benefit the intended target.