For years, there have been rumors and missed deadlines regarding the phasing out of T-12 fluorescent lamps (the “fat” tubes as some call them). Effective July 2012, the common 4’ T12 lamp is no longer being produced due to a mandate from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The intent to phase out the 4’ F40 and F34 T12 fluorescent lamp was increased energy efficiency. The replacements for them, the F32 T8 lamp, are more efficient, in part due to the electronic ballast used to drive them.
So, what is a consumer to do?
Upgrade to T8 energy efficient lamps (the “skinny” tubes).
But, compliance is not as simple as just changing the lamps. T8 lamps require a different ballast than T12 lamps (A ballast is the rectangular transformer/capacitor combination inside the fixture that changes the voltage characteristics to ignite the gases in the fluorescent tubes).
If the lamps are changed from T12 to T8 and the ballast is left as is, overheating of the ballast will occur, in some cases creating a fire hazard. Flickering, striation and on/off problems will definitely occur, sometimes not immediately, but it will happen.
Another option is a lighting retrofit. Right now is a great time to take advantage of energy efficiency incentives offered by Georgia Power and also the Federal EPAC program.
Replacing the ballast or lighting retrofit, we can help. For more information, contact us here or call our office at (770)455-4556.