You may save money on your electric bill and eliminate a potential health hazard by switching to LED tube lights instead of fluorescent bulbs. However, most current LED tube lights cannot be retrofitted into a standard fluorescent light fixture. You must make a few minor adjustments to the fixture to properly install the bulbs. The good news is that an LED tube light may easily be retrofitted into a conventional fluorescent light fixture. Furthermore, in the not-too-distant future, fixtures tailored for LED tube lights should become commercially available and be priced competitively with their fluorescent counterparts. This article will provide a high-level overview of the steps required to replace an old fluorescent light fixture with one that uses newer, more energy-efficient fluorescent tubes.
Fixtures for fluorescent lighting often only accommodate certain brands and sizes of fluorescent tubes. A fluorescent lighting system comprises the fluorescent lamp (fluorescent bulb or tube), the ballast, and the starting system, all built into a fluorescent tube. A bulb holder and a light switch complete the tube lighting system. The starter may be a user-replaceable, unnecessary, or an integral part of the ballast in a specific fluorescent lighting system. The fixture’s physical construction may be integral to the starting function. The ballast (and the starter, if there is a separate one) must be removed from a fluorescent light fixture before an LED tube light may be installed.
LED tube replacement lights should be the right size for the housing they will be installed in. Always turn off the power to the entire fixture before servicing a fluorescent light or lamp. When a significant number of lights (like in an open workplace) are all operated by a single switch, this is not always feasible. Insulating gloves and a nonmetallic ladder should be utilized if servicing the fixtures while power is present.
After removing the ballast, you must rejoin the wires, so have a wire cutter, wire stripper (typically combined into one instrument), pliers, a screwdriver, and wire nuts on hand.
After turning off the power to the fixture and removing the old bulbs, you’ll likely need to take apart the reflector that sits behind the bulbs and houses the fixture’s wiring and ballast. Taking off the reflector or cover is usually a simple process, but if you’re having trouble, check the manufacturer’s instructions.
You need only disconnect the electronic ballast from the light fixture and connect the electricity straight to the lamp holders to make a separate circuit for each bulb. The current wire in the fixture may usually be reused, and some wire nuts are all needed to finish the job. An earlier light fixture’s starter and magnetic ballast must be removed or opened, and the ballast must be removed or shorted, respectively.
Depending on the length of wire you have available, you should leave enough wire flowing out of the ballast so that you may rejoin the ballast using wire nuts if you ever decide to switch back to using the fixture with fluorescent bulbs. The ballast can be easily removed from the fixture by using a screwdriver or pliers to loosen the two screws or bolts holding it in place. Both the ballast and the old fluorescent bulbs must be disposed of in a way that complies with local legislation. Because of the minuscule quantity of highly poisonous mercury contained in fluorescent bulbs, they should be disposed of as hazardous waste.
LED tube lights can be installed in the end sockets once the ballast (and starter, if present) has been removed and the wires have been rejoined to complete a circuit for each bulb. The reflector or cover should then be replaced over the wiring and the area where the ballast was located. The LEDs in an LED tube light will be seen under a lens on the side of the tube that will be pointed towards the area to be lighted, while the iron heatsink will be positioned on the backside of the tube. Put the fixture’s cover back on (if there was one) and flip the switch. If you have done everything well, turning on the switch will provide illumination that is as good as or better than conventional methods while using as little as half as much electricity and lasting as long as 50,000 hours or more.
Visit if you want to learn more about available LED and tube lights.