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Fluorescent Tubes

Small businesses can use a variety of lighting technologies and styles. Fluorescent tube lighting is perhaps the most common of these options. Fluorescent tubes can vary in efficiency according to both the tube itself and the ballast that runs the tube. Tubes can be categorized by their diameter as follows:

  • T12: 12/8” (or 1.5 inches) in diameter
  • T8: 8/8” (or 1 inch) in diameter
  • T5: 5/8” in diameter

T12s are the least efficient of these tube types and T5s are the most efficient. These tubes can come in a variety of lengths. They can also come in varieties identified on the tube’s label, such as ‘high output’ or ‘energy saver’.

Lighting Ballasts

Ballasts than run the fluorescent tubes are either magnetic or electronic. Magnetic ballasts are less efficient than electronic ballasts. While there are tools such as flicker checkers and ballast checkers to help you identify your ballast type without having to access the ballast, you can also read the label of your ballast to identify whether it is magnetic or electronic.

Common 4-ft. fluorescent tube/ballast combinations and their system wattages include:

  • 4-lamp 40W T12 with magnetic ballast: 172 watts
  • 4-lamp 34W T12 with magnetic ballast: 144 watts
  • 4-lamp 32W T8 with electronic ballast: 113 watts
  • 4-lamp 28W T8 with electronic ballast: 99 watts

Upgrading To LED

If you have fluorescent tube lighting, you may want to consider upgrading to LED. LED lights can use half of the energy (or less) compared to equivalent fluorescents.

Last updated: October 18, 2017 at 10:59 am