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Fluorescent T8 Bulbs

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Fluorescent T8 Bulbs

T8 bulbs are available as either linear fluorescent or LED tubes. T8 fluorescent tubes are commonly rated for 20,000 life hours, but range from 7,500 hours to 46,000 hours for standard T8 tubes. More energy efficient fluorescent T8 lamps can have a rated lifespan of up to 84,000 hours. T8 tubes are typically purchased by the case for large construction projects, renovation projects, and businesses taking advantage of bulk savings.

Fluorescent Tube Size and Wattage Guide

The "T" stands for the tubular shape of the bulb and the number after it is the diameter of the tube in eighths of an inch. T8 bulbs are 8 eighths of an inch, or one inch in diameter. Other common sizes are T12 bulbs which are twelve eighths of an inch or 1.5 inches diameter, and the T5 lamps which are five eighths of an inch, or .625 inches in diameter. The easiest way to know the size and wattage of your current bulb is to check the label on the end, but measuring the diameter will work if the label is illegible. The "F" signifies that the tube is a fluorescent and the number after it represents the wattage. If you're looking for a 32-Watt fluorescent tube, click the F32T8 category.

T8 Fluorescent Tube Color Temperature

Color temperature is an important factor to understand to ensure you have consistent lighting across an area. Fluorescent tubes are available in a wide range of color temperatures, so it's good to know what your application needs. The higher the Kelvin value, the bluer the bulb's light will appear. The lower the Kelvin value, the more yellow the light. For work spaces like offices, garages, and warehouses, we recommend lighting between 4000K and 5000K. Studies have shown these color temperatures can help reduce eye strain and increase productivity.

700, 800, and 900 Series Phosphors

The original fluorescent lamps were bright enough for general lighting, but the color rendering left much to be desired, with a color rendering index as low as 55 in some cases. The 700 series fluorescent light uses three different phosphors to provide red, green, and blue wavelengths, improving the color rendering index for these triphosphate tube lights. However, as technology has improved to offer more energy-efficient options, these fluorescent lamps failed to keep up with changing standards. In July 2014, all T8 700 series fluorescent lamps no longer met the new minimum allowable Lumen efficacy (lumens-per-watt) and minimum color rendering rating, so these T8 bulbs are no longer produced. Stock up while inventory is still available or upgrade to 800 and 900 series phosphors.

Most T8 lamps can be upgraded to 800 series lamps without any changes to the light fixtures. The 800 series fluorescent lamps are available with full spectrum lighting or even higher energy savings if you have an application where color rendering is less important. Like the 700 series tube light bulb, the 800 series came under review. Recent changes to energy standards mean the 800 series is also no longer being manufactured, but retailers can still sell out of existing inventory so these will still be available for years before you need to upgrade to the 900 series or LED tube lights.

How to Fix T8 Bulb Flickering - Signs of Ballast Failure

If you've had your fluorescent fixtures for a while, it may be time to service of even replace your ballast. Thankfully there are a few common signs of ballast failure you can watch out for. A failing ballast can cause your lights to dim, buzz, change color, or flicker rapidly. Check over all parts of the fixture to be safe, but when looking at the ballast, a swollen casing or burn marks are clear signs of failure.

Choosing the Right Ballast

If you know your ballast needs replacing, there are a few factors to consider when selecting a new one. The best place to start your search is knowing the type of lamp your fixture uses. Ballast spec sheets typically list which bulbs and wattages they are compatible with. If possible, match the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) code of the lamp to that of the ballast. However, ballasts are often compatible with more than one type of lamp, and vice versa. The best ballast for your T8 tubes will most likely be based on design and start method. Fluorescent ballasts have four main types of starting methods: preheat start, rapid start, instant start, and programmed start. The latter two are the newest and most popular start methods.

Need assistance selecting the right fluorescent tubes for your commercial application? Don't hesitate to contact us at 1-800-624-4488 to speak to our team of lighting experts.