Which Fluorescent Ballasts Improve Lighting & Offer High Efficiency Savings

23/08/10 1 COMMENTS

One of the biggest problems with Fluorescent Lighting and light fixtures is and has always been a lack of public awareness as to the products being used. Typically a consumer or facility maintenance department know what kind of bulbs they need for a fixture, and when it comes time for a ballast, they seek “A Ballast” that would appropriately run the number and type of lamps being used.

There Are Many Types of Fluorescent Ballasts

Manufacturers such as Sylvania, Advance, GE and Prolume, (Many others), all make fluorescent T8 ballasts. What most people do not know is they make many different kinds all for the same lamp combination.  These include:

  • Residential Grade Ballasts
  • Standard General Ballast
  • CEE Rated High Efficiency Ballasts

Each of these varying grades of fluorescent electronic ballasts are available in 120 Volt, 277 Volt and Universal Voltage. Not only are they available in varying voltages, but they as well have a great variance as to the characteristics, energy consumption, light output and bottom line price.

The Benefits of Ballast Types & Pricing

Residential Grade Ballasts

Electronic Fluorescent Ballasts made for residential use are very common and typically found pre-installed in fluorescent fixtures available at stores like Home Depot and Lowes. The fixtures from these sources often carry a lower price than those available from commercial electric or lighting companies with the only difference being the ballast installed. The Residential or (GEB) Generic Electronic Ballast, are made with lower usage requirements such as 3 hours use per day. They have a smaller and less expensive electrolytic capacitor that when used for extended periods of time, crystallizes internally and fails. These ballasts when used in a commercial application rather than as a “Garage Light” usually fail with a year or two. Ballast cost @ $12.00 each.

See: Advance Residential Ballast Brochure

Standard General Ballasts

Standard  ballasts are designed for use in retail and offices with run times averaging 8-10 hours per use daily. Typically this is the “Normal” ballast you will receive when asking a supplier for a ballast.   These are readily available, and often come with very competitive pricing from distributors @ $15.50 to $21.oo per ballast. The quality of these ballasts are average, however they last @ 3 -5 years maximum life and only carry a warranty longer than 3 years if installed with the same brand lamps as the ballast manufacturer.  There is no energy benefits when using standard general ballasts, other than understanding that they operate with a ballast factor of 88%, which means the lamps are putting out 12% less light.  Examples of a stadard use ballast: Sylvania Quicktronic (QTP4x32T8 ISN-SC)

Beware: This is the ballast that most companies sell 100% of the time. Claims of “Best Quality, Professional Series or Commercial Grade” are misleading as it is intended for light use only, not heavy duty or energy efficiency.
 
See: Sylvania Quicktronic Brochure
 

CEE Rated High Efficiency Ballasts

Halco High Efficiency T8 Ballast

High Efficiency Ballasts are considered to be the “Best Quality, Most Efficient” ballasts available in today’s market. These ballasts which meet the efficiency standards of Energy Star and (CEE) Consortium For Energy Efficiency provide maximum light output of 95% of the design lumen output and producing up to 99.8 lumen’s per watt.  These are excellent choices for office, warehouse such as Fluorescent High Bay fixtures as well as retail store lighting.

 

This means brighter light, greater energy savings and a complete 5 year factory warranty no matter how many hours of use in any application.

See: Halco High Efficiency Brochure

 

For more information view our website or call Synergy Lighting for a free consultation.  Phone: (941)-756-4844

Toll Free: (877) 220-5483

e-mail: sales@synergylightingusa.com

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Why Light Bulbs Don’t Last | Sarasota, FL

19/06/10 2 COMMENTS

Synergy Lighting for years now has attempted to educate its customers on the value of quality light bulbs. In hard economic times, businesses often look for ways to cut expenses and save money. We see these businesses often perform layoffs or reduce their inventories in order to keep a positive cash flow. However most businesses do not realize their savings potential just by switching to quality light bulbs which can result in huge savings.

First we must identify the difference between price and cost. A .39 cent light bulb does not have a cost of .39 cents. That is the price of the bulb. The cost is measured by how much electricity is paid for to illuminate the bulb, and how much labor is paid to change the bulb time and again. For most businesses, a .39 cent light bulb has an annual cost of $42.65 when you calculate electricity and an employee changing the bulb twice a year at a pay rate of $10.00 per hour. Remember, a $10.00 an hour employ also has taxes to the business owner above and beyond their normal pay rate.

Three Things That Kill Light Bulbs:

Heat

Any illuminated light bulb has heat. Even cooler burning lamps such as CFL’s and Fluorescent produce some form of heating.  This heat or burning of the filament or cathode, over time dissipates the tungsten and the filament becomes thinner and weaker till it eventual breaks.

Vibration

Often customers grin when we tell them about vibrations damaging the tungsten filaments or cathodes. The standard feedback is that their light bulbs are firmly mounted and do not have vibration. Air Conditioning, doors opening and closing and wind load forces on a building cause subtle vibrations undetectable to humans, but can be passed on to the filament of a lamp even if so subtle we can not feel them. As you will see in the video below, the filaments or cathodes have their own vibrations from molecule collisions while under a heat load.

Power Surge

Every time we turn a light on there is a power surge to the filament or cathodes. Many other power surges happen daily that we do not recognize, such as every time an Air Conditioner turns on or off, a large motor operates, or even a power surge from a laser printer spooling up. By design, the utility company redirects power to grids several times a day which causes a series of small power surges that are only sensitive to light bulb filaments.

It is only when we combine all three of these actions together that it kills a light bulb. Over time naturally the repetitiveness of these actions will kill the lamp, or if any one of the three has a drastic increase over the other we will realize this with a premature failure of the lamp.

Filament ComparisonSylvania, Philips, GE and many other manufacturers use a Standard Tungsten-Alloy Filament stretched between two filament supports. Unlike the Pure Tungsten Filaments invented by Thomas Edison, and used in most Industrial Grade Bulbs, the tungsten-alloy filament is weaker and does not hold up as long. This may be part of planned obsolescence, or a way to get a consumer to buy more bulbs.  Industrial Grade lamps such as Halco, Superior Life Lamps use Pure Tungsten filaments with additional filament supports. This increase lamp life and stability when subjected to Heat, Vibration and Power Surge.

As previously stated above, the typical Philips, Sylvania, GE bulb with a price of .39 cents has a cost annually of $42.65. If we change to an Industrial Lamp with a price of .59 cents, the price is higher, but the resulting cost would be lowered to $33.92 per year because of it’s life that is 4 times longer. This has an additional Price of .20 cents that results in a cost savings of $17.46.

50 Bulbs saving $17.46 over 24 months would save a business approximately $873.00! That’s cutting costs!

Conclusion: Spending a few cents extra on a quality light bulb can result in tremendous savings and increased cash flow over time.

 

For more information on quality light bulbs, view our website  or call Synergy Lighting for a free consultation.

 

Phone: (941)-756-4844

Toll Free: (877) 220-5483

e-mail: sales@synergylightingusa.com

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