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Retrofit Kits- The Future is Retro

by Eric Cole 24 June, 2011 10:28


If you’re still using T12 bulbs to light your business, you’re not alone. However, you may be in for a surprise: The magnetic ballasts used to light many of these bulbs are being phased out and many manufacturers have already discontinued their production, meaning that you’ll need to upgrade sooner rather than later.

The technology that lit the first T12 bulbs over 70 years ago remains basically unchanged today, and there are many ways to light your space more efficiently. T8 and T5 systems can give you similar or even better light output and quality of light, all while saving you a substantial amount in energy costs.

There’s probably a good reason that you’ve stuck with your T12’s. Perhaps the lighting scheme you’re using works well and you’ve never needed or wanted to change your fixtures. Maybe you’ve been concerned about the cost of buying new fixtures, or the disruption to business that would result from installing them. One option is to simply replace the ballast and the bulbs, but while you’re already pulling the fixtures apart, it’s worth considering taking one more step that can really help you save on energy costs.

Enter the retrofit kit- these kits are designed to upgrade your lighting without needing to replace the entire fixture, which allows you to save up to 50% on the upgrade cost and still realize energy savings of up to 75%.

The kits are also fairly easy to install, and can sometimes be installed with the fixture in place. The kit contains everything you'll need besides the ballast and the new bulbs, which are sold separately. The disruption is generally much less substantial than replacing the fixtures, which help you keep the doors open at your store, or keep your office productive. We do recommend using a licensed electrician if you are not familiar with the safety requirements involved with rewiring a fixture.

We carry a variety of different styles and configurations to fit nearly any fixture. If you have more questions about retrofit kits, check out our retrofit FAQ or contact a Bulbs.com Lighting Specialist today!

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1/15/2012 12:32:44 PM #

Is it the T12 bulbs themselves that are inefficient, or only the old, magnetic ballasts originally used with them?  I had a ballast fail in a F20T12 fixture over my kitchen sink, in which the bulb is in direct view.  I tried replacing it with a T5 fixture with dual bulbs, but the higher brightness, looking directly at the bulb, was annoying, so I wound up buying a new, electronic ballast and installing it in the old fixture to run the T12 bulb.  A chore, but the result is good.

If I put a hooded fixture in place, so that one does not see the bulb directly when using the kitchen sink, then the cast of the bulb in the room is reduced, and I would have to put in an additional fixture to regain the original room lighting.

I have lots of F40T12 bulbs in my basement.  I'd gladly change the ballasts, but don't want bulbs with lesser brightness (lumens).  I'm tired of being sold bulbs of lesser brightness.  I like the color temperature of the CW bulbs, but I can't find them in the hardware stores any more.  The warm white fluorescent bulbs, to my eyes, are much different from incandescent lighting.  That's what my eyes say, even thought some spectrum analyzer says differently.  Incandescent bulbs put out a Rayleigh (broad, continuous) spectrum of light, while fluorescent bulbs put out a [single or small multiple] line spectrum.  They just aren't the same.

Fred Holmes

1/19/2012 6:55:57 AM #

great article, thank you

depannage plomberie

5/1/2012 3:42:08 PM #

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