|Fluorescent lighting is regarded as an excellent light source. Fluorescent lights work by giving off an impressive amount of light output while using very little energy. Our selection of fluorescent light fixtures includes T2, T4, T5, T8, circline, and compact fluorescent lights. Below you will find a number of high-quality fluorescent lighting fixtures as well as helpful information, advice, and troubleshooting tips.|
- Energy Efficiency
- Fluorescent lighting is still considered one of the more energy-efficient forms of lighting for the amount of light that is produced for a given amount of energy consumed. A common misconception regarding fluorescent light fixtures are that fluorescent lamps need to be turned off for a half hour before the energy saved equals the energy used to initially energize the lamp. Not true. Fluorescent lamps only have to be turned off for one second in order to save the amount of energy that will be expended when the lights are initially turned on again. Compact fluorescent light fixtures are also energy efficient, although they use a slightly different-looking light bulb. Compact fluorescent light fixtures use the smaller spiral-shaped bulbs called CFLs, which are also a kind of fluorescent bulb.
- When choosing fluorescent light fixtures choose one with an instant start electronic ballast to ensure the fluorescent light turns on right away without flickering and does not emit a humming sound. Check the "Electrical Features" section on the fluorescent fixture product pages for this information. You'll find that most of our fluorescent lighting fixtures have instant start electronic ballasts.
- If a fluorescent light fixture is flickering like a strobe when you first turn it on, it likely has a bad ballast.
- Ever seen a fluorescent lamp "barber-pole" or have swirling bands of light down the length of the tube? One cause may have been the way it was stored before installation. If a lamp case is stored on end in an unheated room, the mercury in the lamps will likely condense into droplets and pool in the lamp end caps. The problem may fix itself in a few days, but be sure to store fluorescent lamps in a horizontal position at temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
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- At the bottom of each fluorescent lighting fixture product page's Description tab you will see an "Installation Difficulty" graphic that looks like the one below. We rank the ease of installing our lighting products from 1 "wrench" very easy to 5 "wrenches" will take some time or patience or professional expertise. We tend to be a bit conservative with our estimates of difficulty. That is, we would rather judge a product to be a little more difficult to install than you might so that you will not be disappointed with the time that it takes to install a given lighting product.
- 1 Wrench - It doesn't get any easier than this
2 Wrenches - Pretty easy
3 Wrenches - Somewhat easy
4 Wrenches - Requires some effort but not a great deal of effort
5 Wrenches - Will take some time or patience or professional expertise
- In addition, most of our fluorescent fixtures may be controlled by one wall light switch as long as they are hardwired to power during installation.
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- Here is another common misunderstanding when it comes to fluorescent lights — turning a fluorescent lamp on and off frequently will shorten the life of the lamp and therefore waste money. False. While switching fluorescent lamps on and off does reduce lamp life, it also reduces the operating time that the lamp is actually turned on. For example, letís consider a 4-foot linear fluorescent lamp operating continuously for 24 hours per day that has a rated life of 38,000 hours. Since a year has 8,760 hours, this lamp would burn out in about 4.3 years on average. On the other hand, this same lamp operating 12 continuous hours per day would have a lower rated life of 30,000 hours. Although the lamp life has been reduced by 8,000 hours or 21%, the operating time of the lamp has been reduced by 50% and the "calendar life" of the lamp has been increased to 6.8 years, on average. In this latter case, both lamp replacement costs and energy costs have been substantially reduced even though the rated life of the lamp has been reduced.
- Light Quality
- Many people want the light produced by a fluorescent fixture to be similar to an incandescent light. The color temperature will tell you how the light will appear in terms of "warmth" or "coolness." Look for a color temperature of 3000K for the warm yellow glow that is characteristic of an incandescent light instead of the cooler white–blue light that is often associated with older styles of fluorescent fixtures.
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- Troubleshooting Tips
- Follow these troubleshooting tips if you are having any problems with your fluorescent light fixtures.
- Fixture Hums
- Verify that the ballast is securely fastened to the fluorescent fixture housing and that the housing is securely fastened to the ceiling or wall.
- Verify that the fixture is electrically grounded properly. This means that the green wire inside the fluorescent lighting fixture should be securely connected to the bare copper wire coming into the fluorescent light.
- Allow the fluorescent lighting fixtures to remain on continuously for 48 to 78 hours. This will allow the ballasts to "season" properly.
- Lamps Will Not Operate
- Make certain that all of the fluorescent lamps are properly seated in each of their sockets. This means that both pins at both ends of each lamp are engaged entirely inside its socket and that the lamp has been rotated exactly 90 degrees so that a mark on the lamp lines up with the opening on the fluorescent light fixture's socket.
- Replace any defective light bulbs. Defective lamps are often blackened near their ends.
- Verify that the fluorescent lighting fixtures are wired correctly, which means that like colored wires are connected to each other (the black wires are connected to black wires, white wires are connected to white wires, and so on). Occasionally, some wire connections break off inside the wire nut, which can cause an open circuit.
- Verify that the ballast has a voltage rating that is the same as the voltage of the building.
- Use a multi-meter to verify that the ballast is receiving the correct amount of input voltage.
- The ballast may need to be replaced.
- Lamps Blink, Flicker, or "Snake"
- Turn the fluorescent lighting fixture on and off several times at 30-minute intervals.
- Check the ambient temperature around the fluorescent fixture and, if needed, change the ballast to one that is rated for conditions below 50°F.
- Verify that a ceiling fan or the air conditioning system is not blowing cool air across the lamps.
- Allow the fluorescent light fixture to remain on continuously for 24 to 48 hours, which will allow the lamps to "season" properly.
- Check to be certain that all of the wiring connections (splices) are secure and tight. Occasionally, some wire connections break off inside the wire nut, which can cause a poor electrical connection.
- Use a multi-meter to verify that the ballast is receiving a constant amount of input voltage.
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- Written by Chris Johnson