Energy Efficiency

Published on January 13th, 2016 | by Anita Alvarez

Hybrid T8 LED Tube Plug and Play Lights: Are They the Best Fluorescent Replacements?

shutterstock_361630664Plug-and-play technology is not limited to websites or apps. Now, you can get plug-and-play LED tube lights that are as easy as 1-2-3 to install. No more swapping out the entire ballast, opting for an electronic over a magnetic one. Gone are the days of finding specific bulbs. No matter if your lighting is electronic or magnetic based, hybrid T8 LED tube lights are a viable solution. According to research, there are more than 1 billion fluorescent tubes in operation; thus, many homeowners and facility operators are motivated to find a more efficient solution.

Hybrid LED tubes are able to work with any existing lighting technology, whether it has an electronic ballast or a magnetic ballast. Simply remove the existing fluorescent tub and pop in the new LED tube. Voila. You’re finished.

Drawbacks and benefits

While the return on investment is a motivator for opting into the new technology, facility operators and homeowners should also consider these benefits:

  • When installing the replacement tubes, the facility won’t experience downtime. All that’s required is that the installer turn off the light, snap out the tube and install the new one.
  • They use less power.
  • They require less maintenance. You won’t need to hire a technician to install them, which is necessary for the old tube technology.
  • They don’t require rewiring. Formerly, you would need to remove the ballast to access a direction connection to the voltage.

In a case study, an office space was outfitted with replacement bulbs and achieved dramatic results.

  • Lighting quality increased.
  • Energy savings increased by 44%.
  • Energy use dropped from 3,256kWh to 1,980kWh annually.
  • Maintenance costs decreased by $135.
  • The business had the option of taking the lights to their next facility, if and when they relocate.

Hybrid T8 LED tube lights are not without their downsides, however. Hybrid tubes are typically at the high-end range in terms of price and there is a concern regarding the ballast fittings in the light. However, LED lights pay for themselves quickly in fixtures in which they’re used more than an hour or so a day (common in office settings where the tube lights are on all day).As a result, the payback period of LED lights is also decreasing. In many cases, the payback period can be as short as one year, or less than two to three years. And in the Plug-n-play LED T8 tubes we’ve tested, they’ve fit every ballast that has similar lighting currently in place.

The specs

  • Light output. Hybrid LED tube lights emit a higher quality and brighter light as well as a variety of color variations. They also don’t flicker or produce that loud, familiar humming noise that older fluorescents emit.
  • Wattage. A variety of wattages are available, such as a 14.5 or 18 watt model.
  • Life expectancy. LED light life span averages around 50,000 hours, with some models reaching 84,000. Compare these numbers to the old standard, where fluorescent lights lasted 30,000 hours.

Hybrid T8 LED tube lights are becoming the go-to choice for homeowners and facility operators seeking to best their bottom line. While a higher upfront cost is required, there are a host of benefits you’ll gain down the line. If you want to reduce downtime, lower maintenance costs and gain better lighting quality, these LED tube lights are the way to go.

Tube Lighting Photo from Shutterstock

 

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