Fluorescent Lighting: Everything You Need to Know

Fluorescent lighting is the most widely used lighting system ever. Maybe you have some understanding of its working principle, but in this article, it will be discussed in detail— its luminous principle, its advantages, and disadvantages, etc. I believe that after reading this article, it will bring you a different understanding.

​What is Fluorescent Light?

The principle of fluorescent lighting is a lamp that produces light through a chemical reaction inside a glass tube. This chemical reaction involves the interaction of gas and mercury vapor, which produces invisible ultraviolet light. This invisible ultraviolet light shines on the phosphor inside the glass tube, emitting white light.

Electricity first enters the light fixture and then passes through the ballast, which feeds the current into pins at each end of the fluorescent bulb. From this, current flows to the electrodes inside the sealed glass tube, which is kept at low pressure. Electrons start to travel through the tubes, from one cathode to the other. Inside the glass tube are an inert gas and mercury excited by an electric current. When the current flows, the mercury evaporates, and the gasses begin to react with each other, producing invisible ultraviolet light.​

fluorescent light

​Pros and Cons of Fluorescent Lighting

Pros of Fluorescent Light:

1. Energy Efficiency​

One of the greatest benefits of fluorescent lights comes from their energy efficiency. Fluorescent lights typically use about 25-35% less energy than traditional incandescent and halogen lights. For example, a fluorescent bulb only needs 20 watts to produce the same lumen rating as a 75-watt incandescent bulb​​

2. Low Cost

As fluorescent lighting is energy efficient, it uses less electricity. That means it can save a lot on your electricity bills over time, thus saving your business operating costs.

3. Long Service Life

The long lifetime offered by fluorescent lamps is another advantage. Traditional incandescent light bulbs generally last 800 to 1,500 hours, however, fluorescent lights typically last around 10,000 hours, but many last even longer, some as high as an incredible 50,000 hours.​

Cons of Fluorescent Light:

1. Contains Mercury

Fluorescent lamps contain a small amount of mercury liquid inside, and when the lamp is turned on, the mercury will be converted into mercury vapor, which is the luminous principle of fluorescent lamps. Mercury, even at extremely low levels in bulbs, remains a highly toxic substance and should not be taken lightly. When fluorescent lights fail or go out, they require rigorous cleaning and disposal.

2. Relatively High Purchase Cost

Another negative effect often associated with fluorescent lights is their initial cost, which is higher than traditional lighting options. So whether you can use fluorescent lighting in a new build or remodel project depends on your budget. However, as mentioned earlier, fluorescent lights will save you a lot on your electricity bill over time, which is more than enough to cover your purchase cost.

3. Limitation

A final disadvantage of fluorescent lighting is that it has very few limitations compared to incandescent bulbs. For example, not all fluorescent lights are dimmable. And fluorescent lamps need to use ballasts, which will become an inconvenient thing to replace other types of bulbs in the future.

Why Fluorescent Light Bulbs Need a Ballast?​

The main function of the ballast is to take the wavy alternating current running through the wall wires and convert it into a steady and direct current. This stabilizes and maintains the chemical reactions taking place inside the bulb. In order to choose the right ballast, you need to consider how many lamps need power, what voltage is connected to the fixture, and what the shape and size of the lamp are.​

The most common form of fluorescent lamps is T8 bulbs. The size of the T8 can not only maintain a good lighting effect but also take into account the slim appearance to better integrate into the environment.​​

fluorescent tube

How to Recycle the Fluorescent Lamp?

Because of the mercury used in fluorescent lamps, they are generally considered hazardous waste, and therefore, end-of-life fluorescent lamps need to be properly recycled. If the tube isn't broken, turn the power off, remove the housing, and unscrew the bulb. Ship it to the nearest appropriate recycling center. If a fluorescent lamp accidentally breaks, immediately evacuate everyone in the room and ventilate the room to dissipate the harmful fumes. Effectively cleans the glass of all residue and sweeps powder into a sealable container. Finally, throw it away in the trash can dedicated to recycling hazardous waste.

Fluorescent Lamp in LEDVANCE​

LEDVANCE offers a wide range of compact, linear, U-bend, and round fluorescent lamps. Besides, our focus has always been to provide energy-efficient and long-life T8, T5, and CF lamps, enabling end users to take advantage of utility rebates to reduce initial installation costs. Introduced over 30 years ago, the OCTRON® T8 lamp is now better than ever and offers a variety of lamp options. All lamps offer significant energy savings compared to T12 lamps. Further energy savings can be achieved when combined with high-efficiency electronic ballasts. Operates on Instart or Programmed start ballasts. Pairs perfectly with QUICKTRONIC® Electronic Ballasts and are backed by the full QUICK7XL System Warranty. High-performance T8 systems are available with utility discounts to reduce initial costs. Not only that, SYLVANIA fluorescent lamps are perfectly matched with QUICKTRONIC electronic ballasts available in standard and dimmable versions.​

octron t8 fluorescent


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