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How to Convert Fluorescent Lighting to LED: A Quick and Easy Guide

LED lighting is the latest technological lighting advancement on the market right now. LEDs offer a variety of outstanding benefits because they operate differently than traditional fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. Compared to the traditional forms of lighting, LEDs are not only more durable, but they also have a prolonged lifespan and use only a fraction of the amount of energy that other light bulbs on the market use.

LED’s last up to 80% longer than standard light bulbs, illuminating a space for up to 30,000- 50,000 hours. Similarly, LED bulbs only use a fraction of the electricity that other bulbs do, converting most of the electricity they use into light, wasting only a small amount as heat.

LED lighting is growing in popularity because of the environmental and money-saving benefits it offers. LED lighting will not have to be replaced often because of their long lifespan, saving customer money while also not creating waste. Additionally, LED bulbs will cut electricity bills down significantly because of the small amount of electricity they use. Because of these benefits, LED lighting is growing in popularity worldwide.

As more and more people are making the switch from fluorescent lighting to LED lighting, there are a number of questions that begin to arise. Here is a guide to some of the most common questions customers have when it comes to converting fluorescent lighting into LED lighting.

Can I Use LED Bulbs in Fluorescent Lighting Fixtures?

Usually. Almost all lighting fixtures can house LED bulbs. To confirm that LED bulbs can be housed in a fluorescent lighting fixture, look for LED bulbs that are “ballast compatible,” this means that they can work with the ballasts that are already installed in your current lighting fixture. Or, you can perform a ballast bypass conversion by using a retrofit kit such as the Magnilumen kit, which can be installed in as quickly as 15 minutes.

Compared to incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent lighting, LED lighting is the best choice. Not only are LED lights going to save an individual energy and money, but they are also brighter. Below are comparisons between standard forms of light and LED light.

T8 Fluorescent Lighting vs. T8 LED Lighting

“T” refers to tubular when referring to fluorescent lighting, and the number that follows is the diameter of the lamp in an eighth of an inch. The most popular size of fluorescent lighting is T8, meaning the tube is eight-eighths of an inch or one inch. Other sizes of fluorescent lighting tubes include T5 and T12; these are most common in older lighting fixtures.

The same measurement applies to LED lighting when it comes to the diameter of the tube; however, T8 LEDs do not produce UV/IR light the way that T8 fluorescent light does. LED T8 lights can be housed in lighting fixtures that accommodate T8 fluorescent bulbs, as their size is the same. The only differences are in the light produced.  LED T8 bulbs convert more electricity into light, acting as a more cost and energy-efficient form of lighting than T8 fluorescent lighting.

Options for Converting Fluorescent Lighting to LED

Converting from fluorescent lighting to LED lighting can be a confusing process, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, converting fluorescent lighting to LED light can be simple, especially when using a Magnilumen Magnetic Retrofit Kit. There are several options that are available when it comes to converting fluorescent lighting to LED Lighting, here the quickest and easiest options available:

Switch Out the Entire Lighting Fixture

Switching out an entire lighting fixture is an option when making the switch from fluorescent lighting to LED. Almost all-new lighting fixtures on the market today are capable of housing LED bulbs, or you can choose a lighting fixture that is specifically designed to house an LED bulb. However, switching out an entire lighting fixture can become costly. Though purchasing a new troffer isn’t terribly expensive, paying for the labor to have it installed can get pricey; this is especially true if you are replacing the lighting in an entire building.

If your lighting fixtures are in good shape and don’t need to be replaced any time soon, it’s worth your while to consider simply modifying your existing lighting fixture with a retrofit kit.

Modify The Existing Lighting Fixture

Modifying an already existing lighting fixture is more affordable than replacing an entire lighting fixture to install LED bulbs. There are various methods for converting fluorescent lighting fixtures into LED ones. However, the simplest way is to use some sort of retrofit kit. These kits attach to already existing lighting fixtures and allow for LED bulbs to be housed in them. There are a variety of these kinds of LED retrofit kits available, a recommended choice being ZLEDLighting’s Magnilumen Retrofit Kit, which allows a fluorescent lighting fixture to be converted into an LED fixture in about 15 minutes.

Different Sockets Present an Issue

When modifying an existing lighting fixture to house LED bulbs, a common problem that people often run into is that LED bulbs use non-shunted sockets, fluorescent lighting fixtures have either non-shunted or shunted.

Shunted sockets receive voltage through one set of wires and send it to both contacts. Non-shunted sockets, on the other hand, receive energy separately. Usually, older T12 fluorescent lighting fixtures feature non-shunted sockets, while T8 and T5 fixtures use shunted sockets (except for those that feature dimming ballasts or employ rapid start).

If a fluorescent fixture that you are trying to convert features a shunted socket, modifying your existing lighting fixture can be challenging and may require an entirely new lighting fixture. However, Magnilumen retrofit kits take care of this issue, allowing you to keep your lighting fixture. Magnilumen retrofit kits are a magnetic and quick connecting retrofit system that can attach to any lighting fixture.

Ballast Bypass Conversion

Ballast Bypass Conversion very literally means that the lighting fixture must be rewired to bypass the ballast. The significant advantage of this is that an individual will not have to replace the ballast when converting his or her fluorescent lighting fixture into an LED one.  Magnilumen products do this, cutting down the time it takes to modify an existing lighting fixture, also saving customers money; this is particularly beneficial for extensive commercial lighting renovations and remodels.

One-end vs.Two-end Ballast Bypass Tubes

Ballast bypass conversions are typically easy to perform; however, one common challenge that comes along with ballast bypass conversions is the one-end vs. two-end tubes. With a single-end bulb, both the live and neutral wiring will go right to the sockets at one end of the fixture, leaving the sockets at the other end unwire.

When wiring a two-end tube, one will need to connect all neutral wires to one end, and all live wires to the other end. Rewiring double-end tubes typically takes less time.

Magnilumen Magnetic Retrofit Kits

Magnilumen Magnetic Retrofit Kits are a great solution to modifying an already existing lighting fixture because of the little effort that requires the installation and the vast benefits that they provide. All Magnilumen products are magnetic, allowing for quick and easy connect mounting to any lighting fixture. Magnilumen products reduce power usage by about 50% and can last for up to 100,000 hours. Magnilumen retrofit kits also can be installed in about 15 minutes. Below is a featured image of one of the recent projects that ZLED completed, installing a Magnilumen system, allowing for the use of LED lighting in a fluorescent lighting fixture.

Using Magnilumen to Replace Fluorescent Bulbs

Replacing fluorescent bulbs is made easy with Magnilumen products. Magnilumen products feature several significant benefits, including:

  • A voltage input of 120-305VAC
  • Magnetic mounting and quick-connect wiring
  • Illumination that will last up to 100,000 hours at 150 lumens/watts.
  • No need to rewire a fixture
  • A 5-year warranty
  • Using less energy than fluorescent tubes

Mangilumen offers a number of sizes and designs of retrofit products:

  • Troffer Lighting
  • Indoor Signage
  • Vapor Tights
  • Emergency Backup
  • Retail Display
  • Task Lighting
  • High Bays
  • Surface Mount
  • Channel Lights
  • Cove Lighting
  • Direct and Indirect Lighting
  • Tamper Proof

Ways to Replace Fluorescent Light Through LED Retrofitting

When replacing fluorescent lighting with an LED retrofit kit, there are a number of different kinds and designs of kits that can be applied to existing lighting fixtures. The kind of retrofit kit an individual needs is dependent on the location of the fluorescent light that is being replaced.

Fluorescent to LED Conversion Kits

There is a vast amount of fluorescent to LED conversion kits on the market. LED conversion kits come in many different styles and sizes so that lighting fixtures can house an LED bulb. These conversion kits can get costly, especially once the cost of an electrician is factored into the price.

On average, an electrician charges $50-$100 an hour. Once the value of the electrician is added to the value of the LED conversion kit and LED bulb, the cost can be a bit high with an all-around amount of about $160-$506. However, choosing a Mangliumen Retrofit Kit is an affordable option because of the lack of labor it takes to install.

How to Convert 4ft Fluorescent Light to LED

There are various sizes and designs of retrofit kits available, to ensure almost any fluorescent lighting fixture can be converted into an LED one; however, the most common fluorescent light bulb size is 4ft. Converting a 4ft Fluorescent light can be especially easy when using a Magnilumen retrofit kit; there are 7 easy steps:

  1. Disconnect the power to the fixture(s) from the breaker box.
  2. Remove existing fluorescent tubes and ballast cover.
  3. Disconnect power from the existing ballast. Ballast may be left in the fixture. Consult electrical code.
  4. Connect the incoming power (typically black) & the neutral (typically white) to the quick disconnect supplied with the harness.
  5. Reinstall ballast cover & bring harness out to the fixture area at one end.
  6. Place magnetized LED boards into the fixture, make sure to keep them balanced and even.
  7. Connect harness core to magnetic strips.
  8. Turn on the power to test your newly retrofitted fixture.

Make the Switch to LED Lighting Today

Converting from fluorescent lighting to LED lighting has never been easier and as affordable. To learn more about our fluorescent tube retrofit kits, click here. They are available for four-foot fixtures as well as two-, three-, and five-foot fixtures. We also offer retrofit kits for several other types of fixtures, which can be found in our Products menu.

Start saving money and energy now, contact your ZLED Lighting representative today if you want to retrofit your fluorescent lights into LED ones.

 

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