Making the Switch to LED Power Tubes

Many residential and commercial buildings that were constructed more than a decade or two ago likely have owners that are looking at making the switch to LED power tubes. The challenge becomes that replacing a fluorescent tube light with an LED counterpart is not always a direct substitution, which often causes consumer confusion. If considering switching to LED power tubes, the best way to start is to first understand the benefits of doing so, and then focusing on LED retrofitting.

Benefits of Using LED Power Tubes

It is a mistake to think of a light, tube or bulb, to simply be functional. The choices an individual makes in choosing a light source can make a world of difference in everything from how often they have to buy replacements to how it might impact their monthly energy bill.

The three main benefits most individuals find for using LED power tubes are typically:

  1. Extended lifetime of up to 50,000 hours
  2. Lower energy bills
  3. A light that does not use mercury

Considerations for Making the Switch to LED Power Tubes

For those that have fluorescent light tubes, they typically find making the switch to LED power tubes is not as simple as just buying a new tube. This is due in large part because fluorescent tubes:

  • Come in a wide variety of sizes in both tube length and diameter
  • Require ballasts to function and LED tubes do not

To complicate matters further, some LED tube lights require bypassing or eliminating fluorescent ballasts, and some do not. With all this in mind, the best place to start can be learning about and comparing the types of LED power tubes available.

Types of LED Power Tubes

Just as there are varied types of fluorescent tube lighting, the same applies to LED power tubes but in different ways. To get a clearer picture of how LED power tubes can be different we are comparing and contrasting some of the most common here:

Single Ended Power Tubes

In this type of power tube the same end of it contains both the neural and live pins and it is where the power is supplied. It is important to remember that for this type of tube, it requires a non-shunted socket and it is critical to remove the pre-existing ballast so light efficiency is not negatively impacted.

Double Ended Power Tubes

Unlike the single ended power tube, in the double ended version the neural and live pins are on opposite ends of the tube, which allows either shunted or non-shunted sockets.

Type A

This type of double ended LED tube is popular because it can facilitate an easier switch to LED tube lighting. Since these tubes work with fluorescent ballasts, the installer should not have to rewire or remove the ballast. While being able to use a tube that allows the original ballast to stay in place without modifications is a convenience, it is worth noting that it may be associated with a higher price tag. This type of purchase is most attractive to those doing an installation that do not have professional experience with electrical wiring.

Type B

These LED tubes can be single or double-ended and are typically considered one of the most efficient options on the market. Unlike Type A tubes, Type B direct wire tubes require the installer to remove the ballast and put in non-shunted sockets. While these are added steps that can require significantly more know-how than its more basic counterpart, by removing the ballast it allows the installer to avoid future ballast replacements as well as enjoy more energy savings with better efficiency.

Type A-B

If neither Type A or Type B seems to fit the bill, the hybrid option of Type A-B might just do the trick. It can be a welcome option to many because it allows the installer to choose if they keep the ballast or remove it. The tube can be used as a Type A in which the ballast can stay and a shunted socket is used. It can also be used as a Type B tube in that it uses direct line voltage.

To avoid unexpected problems during installation, purchasers should be aware that not all LED tubes will work with existing fluorescent ballasts. For this reason, if you plan to keep the ballasts, it is usually recommended that the buyer contact the manufacturer first to ensure they are compatible.

The Best Way to Simplify Making the Switch to LED Power Tubes

When it comes to changing up your lighting, the best way to simplify making the switch to LED power tubes can be to ensure you are working with a reputable and knowledgeable lighting provider. These professionals are experts when it comes to all things lighting, and they can be a particularly invaluable asset when it comes to choosing the right LED power tube.

When looking for a reputable company to work with, some considerations to keep in mind are:

  • The number of years they have been in the business. Not only can this add to their credibility, but it generally also means they will be familiar with both fluorescent tubes and LED tubes, making them an excellent source of information.
  • The scope of products they offer. As mentioned above, LED tubes can come in several different varieties. It is essential to choose a provider that offers a wide variety of tubes so they will have a product that meets your exact lighting needs.
  • Their clients and reputation in the industry. Ask the company for a list of some of their previous or current clients as well as what type of projects they have assisted with over the years. This is typically both a window into their credibility as well as the work they have done for business and home owners.

If you are a home or business owner thinking of making the switch to LED power tubes, do your homework by reviewing the above and then proceed with confidence and the right supplier by your side.

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