Expert Electrical

When Upgrading Fluorescent Lighting, Don’t Forget the Ballasts

Mar 11, 2014 | Save Energy, Save Money on Electricity

Fluorescent Light FixtureWe get a lot of calls for fluorescent light repair here at Expert Electric. But before calling, always remember that if your fluorescent light fixture is burnt out or flickering, first change the bulbs (fluorescent tubes) to see if this corrects the problem and also save yourself some money. If you are not comfortable changing the bulbs due to location or any other safety concern, we would be very happy to help you. If your fluorescent fixture still does not light up after changing the bulbs then the problem is most likely faulty ballast, or less commonly a possible wiring issue.

Fluorescent Fixtures

Fluorescent light is the product of two components: the lamp and the ballast. The role of the ballast is to boost voltage for short duration; the ballast will then maintain a constant applied limited current to properly operate the lamp. You must use the proper ballast for each type of fluorescent bulb. Bulb types are T12, T8, and HO. While it is tempting to install higher efficiency fluorescent lamps (like T12s or T8s), we must pay special attention to the type of ballast installed in the light fixture or those bulbs will not operate properly.

Ballasts Upgrades

The ballast technology has improved a lot in the last 15 years.  If you are not upgrading your ballast you won’t see the potential energy savings that efficient fluorescent lighting can provide. The new electronic ballasts operate differently from older electro-magnetic ballasts. They don’t just save you money but out-perform magnetic technology in several ways.

Higher Efficiency: New electronic ballasts provide you with more light and cost less to operate, saving you money and helping the environment. Dimming is also easier with electronic ballasts.

More Control: Electronic ballasts can be manufactured to under drive or overdrive the lamps they support, producing more or less light. This allows you to adjust which areas need more light and which need less light. The lighting pattern can now be changed due to work patterns and specific lighting requirements.

Dimmer Switches: Dimming is also easier with electronic ballasts. Preset your dimmer and it can cut your light by 50% and this will save you money as well.

Less Heat Emission: Electronic solid-state ballasts produce less heat than electromagnetic type ballast. What this means is if you are operating cooling equipment, such as food coolers or air conditioning during summer the electronic ballasts will help you save on cooling costs.

The best part is that with the higher frequency electronic ballasts, there is no flicker or buzz. There are many benefits to high efficient ballasts and we recommend you take advantage of them. If you need assistance with you fluorescent lighting or ballast, don’t hesitate to give Expert Electric a call and we can help you out!