If you are using fluorescent lighting in your home, here is a question for you: are you sure that you will have lights in your basement or garage after 2012?
The right answer on this question depends on the type of fluorescent lighting you have. If you are still using the original fluorescent bulbs, a.k.a. T12, then you better do something about it.
Why should you worry about fluorescent bulbs?
Here is the reason for you: the provision of the Federal Minimum Energy Standard mandated the manufacturing of T12 fluorescent bulbs to be phased out in 2012. For many of us including you, it means you would have a hard time finding replacement fluorescent bulbs after that.
How to check the bulb type?
First of all you need to find out what type of fluorescent bulbs you are actually using. There are at least two ways to find out:
1. Look at the package. It will take some time, but eventually you will locate an upper case letter “T” with number behind it. If it says T8 or T5, than you are in a good shape, and you have nothing to worry about. If it says T12, than you need to continue reading.
2. Measure the bulb. Or you can just look and estimate the diameter. T12 bulb will be 1 ½” in diameter. If the bulb diameter is 1″, you are up to date with the current government standard.
Why are T8 fluorescent lamps better for you?
New and more energy efficient T8 fluorescent lamps are here to replace T12 lamps. Four foot long T8 lamp uses only 32 watts versus 40 watts for T12 and produces the same amount of light. By multiplying the difference in watts usage on number of hours you use the lamp, you can calculate your estimated savings. In addition to that, a T8 bulb makes colors look more natural to your eyes compared to old T12 bulbs.
What should you do about T12 lamps?
The best way to deal with your T12 lighting is to replace it with T8 lighting. The good news is you have some options:
First option. Replace the whole fixture. Dismount an existing T12 light fixture and replace it with new energy efficient T8 light fixture.
Second option. Convert your old fixture to a new one. Since the T12 and T8 light bulbs use the same holder, your original lamp could be converted from T12 to T8 fluorescent bulbs by replacing the conventional magnetic ballast with new electronic ballast. Ballasts are specific for each type of lamp. So it would be a good idea to ask a licensed electrician to help you to find the right ballast and properly install it.
Remember for your own safety all electrical work must be done by qualified electricians.
1. Act On Energy – Use Less, Spend Less
2. F32T8 fluorescent light bulbs for energy efficiency and good lighting. Elightbulbs.com