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Fluorescent Light Bulbs

The truth and some general information.
At, we believe that you should get the best possible quality in a fluorescent light at a reasonable price. Some of you have shopped at a local store or big box stores and found that a lot of that product is poor quality. The reason is that it’s imported at the very lowest price, no consideration is made as to whether it has a track record a good performance. It may be a small thing, a fluorescent lamp, but it’s not if it doesn’t work right. So all that being said, the quality and track record of the fluorescent bulbs we carry is excellent. For those of you looking for a specific type of bulb but it can be a little bit daunting with all the different choices you have. There’s everything from prongs to pins, various color temperatures, and applications that have to be decided upon. So let’s explain it from the beginning. Fluorescent lighting was developed because it has such a high light output for the amount of wattage that you could use. It was found to be more energy-efficient, and you could get a lot of light for the relatively small amount of wattage at the time. That improved to the point that it became pervasively used in all types of lighting applications, replacing a lot of the old incandescent kind of light sources. It started out with basically a cool white fluorescent and they were the most cheaply made type of fluorescent tubes. The industry changed as many people wanted something with better color rendition and more light output. So more types were developed and incorporated into specific types of light fixtures. It gets to be a little bit confusing as there are so many different choices. But you can rest assured that we know what you’re looking for when you give us a part number or if you’re unsure and you send us an image by email. In either case, we probably have seen just about anything that you might see on the marketplace today and we can tell you the availability. We have access to an extensive inventory of any kind of light bulb like this, and we can probably get whatever you may need in 99 percent of the cases. On a rare occasion, there may be something that was imported that nobody has, and in that case, we can help you get a whole new light fixture to replace it.

Changes in the lighting industry
The lighting industry is changing, and so is the fluorescent lighting that you see today. It has become more energy-efficient over time, but now you’re starting to see the advent of LED lighting that is replacing a lot of even the fluorescents. The energy efficiencies have gotten so good that people can replace even energy-efficient T8 fluorescents. If you’re looking at replacing your lighting with more efficient LED, we can help you with that as well. We have a complete line of light fixtures that will work well for your situation regardless of the application. There’s never been a better time to take a look at saving energy by replacing older types of lighting technology. Keep in mind that there’s also a lot of electric utility rebates and the incentives will help reduce payback time and increase your return on investment. Many commercial lighting users often see a payback of anywhere from 1 to 3 years although there are times when it goes even lower than that if an incentive from the utility company comes into play. If you’re wondering how much money you can save by upgrading your lighting system, we do have a spreadsheet on the left-hand column of our website that you can download for free. It gives you a necessary calculation of how much energy and money you can save by going to something that’s more energy-efficient. You can input the data of your existing system on one side and then the new system on the other side with the reduced wattage. Depending on your kilowatt cost you’re going to be able to save quite a bit of money, and you can find out whether it makes economic sense to make the change. It will tell you what the payback would be and will even tell you what your maintenance savings would be. All this comes into play if you’re looking to upgrade your lighting to something that’s more energy-efficient. That being said, fluorescent lighting is still an energy-efficient source, and many people again order it. It’s not going anywhere for the time being and there even many replacement parts like these light bulbs that you see here that will be available for a very long time to come. Some types of fluorescents are being drawn down or being phased out entirely. The T12 is still available for replacement, but it’s hard to get light figures for the many more. And some types have been delisted entirely and will not be made anymore. This occurred when a lot of people went to T8 lighting, and they could change out a light bulb cool white 4100K to something that ran on an electronic ballast. So some changes are coming in the marketplace, and we will stay on top of that and be able to get you the right kind of replacement bulb that you need for your existing system. Don’t be concerned with people that are saying LEDs going to replace everything and in a couple of years you’re not going to be able to get anything else, that’s just not true as there are a large installed base and many people that still use this type of lighting and will continue to in the future. Typically when a jump in technology comes along it doesn’t replace everything that was previously out in the marketplace, it often was an augmented replacement for some items.
Fluorescent and CFL considerations
Another subset that’s very large for this type of lighting is the CFL or compact fluorescent. That’s been a very energy-efficient source that has been around for a long time now and creates light in a much smaller package that was available at the time. Usually, when somebody had to have this type of lighting, it had to be in a linear source, that was no longer the case with CFL’s. So gone were the days of having to have an incandescent lamp in a small type of light fixture, the CFL’s replace that in a widespread fashion. People saw the advantages to using something that was going to save them a lot of money and energy. As with any fluorescent, they operate on a ballast. The older style T12’s that are being phased out operated on a magnetic ballast, and you can’t get those ballasts anymore. It’s all gone to the electronic ballast, and that also is what CFL’s in 2-pin and 4-pin base and all the updated T8 lighting operates on. If you’re having a problem with something that’s not lighting up, then you either have to replace lamps or replace the electronic ballast. Electronic ballast can run anywhere from 10 to 15 years in the field in a real-world situation. Sometimes they could go longer than that, but it all depends on how many hours a day run it and how many times you started. One of the biggest enemies of life for any fluorescent is the switching it on and off. If you know you’re going to run it all day with some intermittent use, it might be better to leave it on all the time. For those of you who don’t know what electronic ballast is it merely a device that is made to start the fluorescent lamp and a very high voltage and then goes down to a lower voltage for operation duty. When you take off the ballast channel inside of a light fixture, you’ll see the ballast right there. Usually black and it will have a label with all the particulars as to what lamp it will run and all the specifications it has. When lights don’t start it usually means a ballast is gone bad especially when there’s more than one at a time that is not lighting. If it’s only one that’s not lighting then you probably need to replace the lamp itself. People sometimes have trouble diagnosing what the problem is with their light fixture when it comes to this. And if you do, you can give us a call or email us any information that you have like a picture or a video and let us know what’s going on. We've probably seen the problem before, and we can probably tell you exactly what you need to do to help get your lighting system working correctly again. Most of the time is just replacing a bulb, but it could be something else and that something else is typically a ballast. If your light fixtures are ancient and you’re thinking about just putting in new lamps that may be the time to consider going to something like an LED system. That could be something where you are retrofitting existing housing or it could be something where you go in and take out the old light fixtures and put new ones in. It all depends on you and what the paybacks are and any incentives that may be involved. In any case, you can get maximum light output for the least amount of energy these days with a wide range of LED. But for those of you who want to maintain this type of lighting system, we're going to have lamps and ballast for these for many years in the future. So please feel free to give us a call or email us with any questions you have. Also, keep in mind that if you’re a more substantial user of this type of product, you can call us for quantity pricing that we can do for you. We believe in getting you the best products at a great price and delivering it promptly.
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