Thursday, January 28, 2016

Flourescent to LED Lighting

With cold weather and a blanket of snow outside, we have been working inside for the better part of January.  This is a great time for us to make improvements to our maintenance facility.  One such improvement has been replacing the old fluorescent lighting with new LED lights.

The LED tube.

The new LED tube fits into a standard single pin fluorescent fixture.
Lighting in a shop is essential for safety and efficiency.  Currently we have over 80 fluorescent light fixtures that have at least two fluorescent tubes accounting for over 160 lights.  Add to that each light fixture has a ballast and the cost to maintain the lighting at the shop can get expensive.  As a result, we have started to replace the old fluorescent lighting with new LED tubes.  The new tubes are designed to fit into the existing fixture eliminating the need to replace 80 light fixtures.  As an added bonus the LED's do not need a ballast.

The old fluorescent ballast is removed.
Replacing the old fluorescent tubes with the new LED's is not as simple as exchanging one for the other.  The fixture needs to be rewired before the new LED tube can be installed.  The biggest part of the rewiring is the removal of the ballast from the fixture.  After the ballast is removed, the light sockets must be rewired so that there is a hot end and a neutral end.  In other words, a simple circuit.  When the wiring is done, the fixture is ready for the LED tube.

The change to LED does require some basic wiring.
As of today, we have completely replaced all of the lighting in the office area of our shop with LED's.  While the old fixtures needed two tubes per fixture, the new LED's are bright enough that we only need one tube per fixture.  This was an added bonus that we did not expect and will cut replacement costs by half.  Additionally, the LED's are over 40% more efficient than the old fluorescent lights, thus saving on electricity. 

The new LED is bright enough that only one is needed per fixture.
Proper lighting is very important to the safety and efficiency of any maintenance department and ours is no different.  Our reasoning for replacing the lighting was to reduce down time and repair costs for fluorescent tubes and ballasts in addition to improving the light quality throughout the shop.  The new LED lights are expected to last over 50,000 hours, far longer than fluorescent at around 12,000 hours.