In schools, offices and even homes there are a considerable number of straight 5ft – 8ft fluorescent tubes used for lighting. Often they are neglected and as a result offer poor lighting considering the expense of the energy required to operate them. Simply cleaning the diffusers is one maintenance task that seems to be omitted particularly if access difficult. In addition some of the tubes for replacements are becoming harder to obtain from suppliers which means for example the larger 8ft tubes could be soon be deemed obsolete.
If when looking at your most often used fluorescent tube lighting fittings you notice failed or darkened tubes, dirty or missing diffusers, or lighting fittings where you can see the small round “starters” on the side, then maybe now is the time to think about maintenance or a change for a more efficient solution.
For many years was two main design generations of fluorescent tube fittings in use. The early type can be recognised as it uses small round “starters” plugged into the side. The next generation uses similar technology but it that does not require a “starter” and is more efficient in energy use. These are sometimes referred to as high frequency electronic ballast types. More recently we now have even more efficient and reliable LED type lighting fittings. In a few cases fluorescent tube lighting is quite unsuitable e.g. where machinery is operated due to the risk of a strobe effect on rotating engines or churches where the colour and slight flicker of the light is distracting. The fluorescent tubes always were and still are available in slightly different shades of white (Colour Temperature). More recently the LED lighting is now available in useful different Colour Temperatures as well, this is useful because for example a clean bright white can be specified for kitchens or a warm white used in reception rooms.
LED lighting lamps have typically a much longer working life compared to incandescent and even fluorescent lamps.Quality LED lighting and careful design of the installation will maximise the level of the lighting compared to the energy used, offset against the operation life of the lamps.
A replacement lighting solution clearly will be more expensive that cleaning and replacing any faulty parts. But because of the lower energy use and increased reliability the pay back on an investment could be only 3 years. This means in a retail or office environment where the lighting is used for long hours a reduction operating costs can be realised and for landlords perhaps there would be an increase in rental value.
Changing just the lighting fittings is only one opportunity for energy and operating cost reduction to consider. There are also a wide variety of inexpensive motion/occupation senors and timed switches available that can be used ensure lighting is only on when it is needed.
An experienced electrical contractor can offer a service to inspect a existing lighting solution and offer options for an effective, attractive and energy efficient solution.