How to Replace Fluorescent Lights with LED Tube Lights?

Gone are the days when maximum households used fluorescent lights as the one cost-effective lighting solution. But for the past decade, with such innovative and valuable technology advancements, LED lighting outperformed the other lighting options.

So here, we will see different techniques available in the market to replace your old fluorescent lights with new Tube lights.

Basically, there are two common ways to switch to this lighting. One is by redoing the entire lighting system of your house or office by fixing a whole new LED fixture. You have to remove the previous fixture compatible with fluorescent lighting. Another way is by converting the existing fluorescent lighting fixture to function with LEDs.

There is a good possibility that some of you might wonder why not just retrofit the LED lights with Fluorescent ones? The reason is that LED tubes and traditional fluorescent tubes are designed differently. And the only essential difference is the presence of ballast.

For those who don’t know what ballast is, here is a small brief about it for your understanding.

What is Ballast?

In layman’s words, ballast is the component that controls the flow of electrical energy into the fluorescent lights. It is present inside the fluorescent lighting fixture as a wired-in component to regulate the flow of electric current.

However, ballast is not present in any of the technology products. Because the current energy flow is already stable in LEDs without any ballast. But, there is also a ballast bypass procedure that allows removing the ballast from the current lighting fixture. The ballast bypass procedure also minimizes the energy usage by the fitted LED tube lights.

If you wish to learn more about the methods for ballast removal, you can refer to Lepro. There you can find information and different efficient tube lights to fit the ballast bypass. However, for your own precaution, if you are not confident about your electrical skills, just call upon an electrician to do the required tasks.

So now, let’s see how to replace your existing fluorescent tube lights with LED lighting tubes.

1. Remove the entire fluorescent lighting fixture.


This method might cost you a bit more than the other conversion methods. To follow this method, you have to remove the whole fixture for fluorescent lighting and replace it with a brand new LED lighting fixture.

Replacing the old lighting fixture can be done in two ways. One is installing a new LED panel/troffer, and another is using magnetic mount kits. Before you finalize to install a whole new lighting fixture, understand that you would have to do more than just retrofitting the old tube lights. You have to rewire all the possible nodes and possibly remodel the ceiling structure too. Or just the area where your old lighting fixture once was.

Apart from the additional expenses, know that the entire fixture replacement is worth the money. As it is a long-lasting solution. Installing a whole new fixture would also modernize your lighting space with more versatile options waiting for you.

2. Replace the Fluorescent Tube


This one here is the simplest way to convert your fluorescent lights. You just have to get a hybrid LED tube and install it in place of the fluorescent tube light. If you install the hybrid (plug-and-play) LED light, you do not have to concern about complex wiring removal. This type of tube light is also termed “universal ballast compatible.” The reason is that these hybrid tubes are manufactured in such a way to easily retrofit the old fluorescent tubes.

If you want to go with this easy technique to convert to LED lightings, you can choose from varied Lepro LED fluorescent lights. However, this simple retrofitting technique also has some risks. Those risks can be:

  • The plug-and-play tubes could be potentially incompatible with the existing ballast.
  • Your chosen hybrid tube could draw more energy as compared to other LED tubes available. This might happen due to an imbalance with the ballast regulator.
  • Since the hybrid tube lights are drawing electrical energy through the fluorescent light’s ballast, there is a disadvantage for ballast failure in the near future.

3. Retrofit both the Ballast and Tube Light.


In this method, you can retrofit the fluorescent tube with direct-wire LED tubes along with a ballast bypass. To proceed with this technique, you should first disconnect the wires attached to the ballast. Now, secure those disconnected wires with wire nuts (just tie it off). Then, rewire the fixture just as any other LED tube installation. Before you start with this procedure, make sure that the power source is turned off. This is a necessary step as you have to bypass the ballast and install a new LED tube light.

The advantage of following this technique is that there are no potential risks of ballast incompatibility or ballast failure, unlike the previous method of only retrofitting the fluorescent tube. It is also a lost-lasting solution and cost-efficient.

Now that you know about the types of methods to convert your old fluorescent tubes to new LED tube lights, it is also essential to understand finding the proper replacement method for LED tubes.

Finding the correct retrofitting method.

To find the right LED tube light for replacing the previous fluorescent tubes, you must first identify the installation technique you will be using. And the installation techniques also vary depending on the type of lighting fixture you have, be it T8 or T12.

To determine your existing lighting fixture, you just have to remove the fitted bulb and read its markings. Then you can learn whether your current tube is T8 or T12. But if there are no markings on the bulb, just find out about the bulb’s diameter or size. For example, the T8 tubes are one inch in diameter, and the T12 tubes are one and a half-inch in diameter.

Once you identify the type of tube installed, you will know about the ballast type as well. Just open up the existing lighting fixture, and have a look at the ballast. You may find electronic ballast for T8 tubes and magnetic ballast for T12 tube lights. After considering both the ballast and the type of tubes, look forward to seeing your LED tube lights for conversion.

Written by Philip Goguen

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