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Praise 4' LED Replacement Tubes

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by David Waldmann, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I think they have finally "arrived".

    You can now get them "double ended" which means they work exactly like fluorescents - no need to remove ballast, rewire or change out the "tombstones" (though you CAN bypass the ballast if it dies).

    To top it off, they are cheap ($10-12 on Amazon, free shipping with Prime), and your local Electric Efficiency agency may well be offering a rebate (if you intend to do this, make sure you get qualifying items - they most likely will require DLC qualificatio).

    After a trial run I just bought 276 of them. Total cost after rebate = $6.50 ea (plus labor to change out). Total savings = $8.00*/year.

    Plus, they are brighter than their replacements, AND provide MORE lumens the colder they get, rather than less (benefit in unheated warehouse...).

    *about 1/3 of that is due to decreased "demand".
    Mike Labbe and IFGL like this.
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  2. wpfay

    wpfay Angry Badger

    I got a couple pair at the Home Depot and used one set in my office and the other over the primary work bench. I don't recall the price, but that probably means that didn't get my attention. I like the light color and brightness, and the fact that I probably won't need to replace them in my lifetime.

    David, I know you like to look at all the numbers. How many man hours do you save not having to change out those bulbs? The first time is a wash since the cost would be there regardless of the kind of bulb you put in. Think of recurring labor charges over the lifetime of the different kind of bulbs.
    Are your mentioned savings from list pricing or in comparison to what you would have spent for fluorescent tubes? If you deduct the cost of a fluorescent tube from what you paid after rebates, you get the number that plugs into the answer to the next question.
    What is the projected savings in total electrical consumption? this last one is of interest to me. In sunny humid Florida, electric consumption by HVAC is considerable. We switched to a high efficiency unit about two years ago. It has a 12 year expected life span (what they will warranty it for). The savings in electric consumption will have paid for the unit sometime during year 4 of ownership. That and switching from halogen to LEDs throughout the building has cut my electric bill by almost 40% on average.
    Rick Granick likes this.
  3. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That IS a factor, but it's a bit of an unknown. The main reason is that we didn't "need" to replace too many of the existing tubes. Some might have lasted a day, others could be another three years. So I didn't factor that in, although it is worth considering. OTOH, we don't use "productive" time to do things like this, i.e. slowing down throughput; we just do it when someone has a spare hour or three (I rarely send guys home early - there are always these kinds of things to do). Same thing looking down the road at conventional replacements.

    No, the savings I mentioned are strictly electrical consumption against the total cost of the replacements. Again, because I didn't "need" to replace hardly any of the existing ones I can't really subtract the cost of new ones that I didn't need to buy.

    I've never searched it out, but at the most basic level I feel pretty safe to say that if your Cooling Degree Days exceed your Heating Degree Days you will save ADDITIONAL money by using more efficient bulbs, motors, etc. However, if your HDDs exceed your CDDs you will actually save LESS than it looks like on paper.

    Here in Chester we are lopsided to HDDs - 7100 versus 950. Again, exactly what that means, I don't know, but the simple fact is that there is less heat generated by efficient lights, so we will have to make that up some other way. Or just buy afghans for everyone.

    Like politics, there are many ways to look at this, and you can pick and choose "facts" to suit you. But for me the bottom line was that even throwing out* good working bulbs, buying new ones and paying someone to switch them out saves me money in my lifetime.

    *we're not actually throwing out the good ones. We're not replacing all the fluorescents, only the ones that are on more than 5 hours a day. We have a bunch that are on for a half hour or less a day, so we have a lifetime supply of tubes, and even at that I could give a bunch away to someone else that has low-use fixtures, or would rather pay monthly than up front.
  4. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    This is something I have been giving serious thought to of late. I don't have many
    tubes - maybe 30 on the whole plot but weighing up the costings it does make sense.
    Plus, I believe LEDs last longer and don't dull with age. I have vowed to swap them out
    every time a std tube dies.

    Apart from tubes I have about 12 spotlights in the shop which used to be 60W each. I
    switched to 42W "Eco" bulbs which are cheap but don't last very long. As a test I got
    two LED spots which run at 5W. Not cheap but they have outlived several conventional
    bulbs and give just as much light.

    ** I checked out several vids on yootoob showing how to convert/rewire standard tube
    fittings to accept LED tubes. Delving a bit further I found a few dire warnings not to do this
    due to overheating risks (???). Better to get the whole caboodle in one lump methinks. ;):D
  5. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    In MA, we have a "masssave program". We just had every light bulb in our house replaced with LED lights. We have a lot of recessed lights (we have about 80+ of them) and the light bulbs are really expensive and never lasted long (we had either standard bulbs or halogen). Now they are all LED. The lights are a bit different and the only place we actually miss the halogen lights is in the kitchen. We'll get used to it.
    There was no cost to us, at all. One guy was there for a full day and replaced everything. Inside and outside.

    For the business, we had about 100 fluorescent lights and those too were all replaced. Cost to us was under $500 and someone came in, changed everything out and took our old fluorescent lights to be dumpstered. Or however they are allowed to get rid of it. No headaches for us.

    Now we know it is not 'free'. When you check your electricity bill, there is a surcharge. Everyone pays that and has paid that for a few years now. Not many people take advantage of that program, we have, so don't feel too bad about that surcharge anymore.
    It has lowered our monthly bill. We will not have to replace those light bulbs ever again. No more flickering fluorescent lights and these new LED ones are much brighter and far more pleasing.

    I would urge everyone to check it out. Contact your electricity supplier and see what they offer. There are good deals out there.
  6. Rick Bergeron - CPF

    Rick Bergeron - CPF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    What is the "Strobe" effect of the LED compared to CFL compared to incandescent when used above machinery?
    Would these be a safety concern that spinning equipment appears to be stationary or spinning slower than actual?
  7. wpfay

    wpfay Angry Badger

    Our Electric Utility Company is not so generous. The one plan they had, and they spent a bunch of marketing dollars on it, was to replace up to 4 bulbs at no cost. It was done in cooperation with WalMart who did the distribution from one of their Super Centers. 4 bulbs swapped out and for me it would have meant a 2+ hour trip (80+miles R/T). This didn't include flood lights or tubes, just lamp bulbs with 60W equivalence. But this is the same utility that has proposed a state amendment that ends up penalizing independent producers of solar or wind turbine electric if they attempt to sell back to the grid. The fox is guarding the hen house.
  8. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Plug and play.

    The "double ended" LED tubes now available require no rewiring whatsoever, unless you have an old incompatible ballast. In that case you do have to rewire (bypass the ballast).
  9. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I haven't heard anything about a strobe effect, and there is no visible effect.
  10. Rick Bergeron - CPF

    Rick Bergeron - CPF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    TNX, Fluorescents above my lathe sometimes gives the illusion that it is turning very slowly or stopped because the tubes turn off/on @ 60hz. Incandescent filaments can't go off/on at that rate.

    I was afraid that the LED would be able to turn off/on similarly if they were using unfiltered 60hz vs pure DC power supply.
  11. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    How do you know what kind of ballast you have? The recessed fixtures in my workroom have 2 T-8 tubes each, and are about 20 years old.
    :cool: Rick
  12. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That old, they are probably not compatible. But the way you find out is to put the tubes in and see if they work. As long as it is a properly operating fixture you can't hurt them (as long as they are double ended - if you try putting a single ended one in a conventional fixture you will let some smoke out).
  13. Rick Granick

    Rick Granick SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Thanks, David. Which double-ended tube are you using?
    :cool: Rick
  14. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I did not know these existed, i got to get some.
  15. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The key features are:
    18W (appear brighter than the replaced fluorescent*)
    Clear cover (you can see the individial LEDs)

    We are using this first one in most of our production/warehouse area. I considered replacing just 4 tubes in our 6 tube fixtures, but the light is so nice and we are already saving $$ so I decided to do 6 for 6.

    The key features are:
    12W (appear a tad less bright than the replaced fluorescents)
    Frosted cover (you can't see the LEDs - appears as standard fluorescents)

    These are the ones I got for the office area. It was plenty bright already so I decided to use the lower wattage, and since they are open fixtures (shop ones are too but I don't care what they look like) I got the frosted so it looks a little more refined.

    *most 32w T8s are rated at 2700-2800 lumens or thereabouts, whereas the 18w LEDs are only rated at 2200. However, the LEDs are directional, so you lose less to scatter. Also, LEDs do not lose brightness over their lifetime whereas fluorescents typically lose more than 10% even at just 40% of rated life. Whatever the reasons are, the 2200 lumen LEDs provide more perceived light than the fluorescents. Whether it's scientifically measurable or not, I don't know, but Perception is Reality.
    Rick Granick likes this.
  16. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    You cant see the 60 flashes (cycles) per second, as you can with cfl or cheap holiday lights. The commercial bulbs have circuits to prevent that.
  17. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    A few years back the electric company offered me a deal I could not refuse. They paid 70% for the installation of six new troffers, each with two brand new skinny fluorescent bulbs (25 watt instead of four 40 watt). They spread the payments out over 24 months. But my bill never went up because the new fixtures and bulbs cost less to run.

    Now they are offering to pay 60% of upgrading to LED and they tell me these lights will be brighter. It is too darned bright in there already. I think I'll pass.

    But I took advantage of a deal at Canadian Tire two weeks ago and replaced nearly every compact CFL in my house with 40w and 50w LEDs, which ended up costing $1.99 (Canadian!) each with the additional government rebates. These are Feit bulbs which I have seen in the states for $19.99 each (American!).
    David Waldmann likes this.
  18. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    I got the same bulbs last summer for a buck each, (that's 75 cents US). Bought 50.

    Found the T8 LEDs at Costco for $10 each. ($7.50 US).
    David Waldmann and Framar like this.
  19. Eric The Framer

    Eric The Framer CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    January last year, I replaced my fluorescent tubes, 96 tubes of 40 watts, for 72 Hyperikon 18 Watts 3500K, 3 on each lamp, and I can tell you it is a lot brighter, cooler, and don't have any flickering or noise coming out of the lamps, so I went from 3840 watts to 1296 watts, and my overall bill went down by around 40%. I think the new lights cost me around 1200 bucks, no shipping with amazon prime. My electric company gave me some money, don't remember how much, because it was a credit, I changed all the tubes on a Sunday, no biggie, also took the ballasts out, (they also consume energy), and all the tubes and ballasts were given to my neighbors, and honestly my only regret is that I should have done it earlier. besides the lights if I am not mistaken are guaranteed for 50.000 hours which just doing the math, at 10 hours a day comes to around 13 1/2 years.
    David Waldmann likes this.
  20. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The only problem is that earlier the LED tubes were more expensive and didn't put out as much light. I looked into it a few years ago and it just didn't make sense. In fact I believe I posted a thread about that here on TG.
  21. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You did!
  22. Rick Bergeron - CPF

    Rick Bergeron - CPF SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks Mike,
    The CFL strobe effect almost got me a time or two with my variable speed saws. Just the right speed and the saw looked like it was not turning or at a very slow speed.

    TNX David,
    After the first one, 10 minutes per fixture to rewire to remove those old heat generating ballasts. It's amazing how much better the lighting and I hadn't realized how much the old bulbs had degraded.
    The FEIT tubes at Costco are a PoS compared to these. They require the ballast to be functional.

    Our Postal Annex store had nearly half their troffers out and had been futzing around putting off replacing the ballasts. Showed them the bulbs and in less than a day, Voila.... they had light...
    David Waldmann likes this.
  23. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I just ordered forty eight 2' tubes for my shop!
  24. mayos

    mayos MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    We're in the process of replacing all our old T-12 fluorescent tubes with the LED 4' tubes. So far I have replaced about 30 of 218 tubes. We're using a tube from EarthLED which costs us around $10 with free shipping. The tube is a 4,000 K which is a good for color rendition. 2,000 lumens and 18 Watts. The tube is a Thinklux brand from them. These are a direct wire bulb, which I at first was reluctant to use. They are wired only on one end so the other lamp holder simply holds the bulb in place. I decided to remove the ballast as this eliminated another item that uses electricity and creates heat. I don't get any flicker and get a much brighter, "happier" light. It isn't a big deal to remove the ballast and rewire the fixture. Takes about 20 minutes. Mfg. says these bulbs will each save $77 over their life which I assume is the 50,000 hours they are guaranteed. Really happy with them so far.
  25. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Do they have the rewiring instructions in the box? Might seem like a stupid question, but who knows?
  26. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Both types we've gotten come with wiring/ballast-removal instructions with each box.
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