7 Steps to Successfully Installing an LED Lighting Retrofit. Step 3

Step 3: Consider all types of LED lamps and fixtures

If you have been following along with our series, so far we have discussed the process of identifying the proper fixtures and the possibility of removing lamps and fixtures.

The next step in the LED lighting retrofits is the proper identification of replacement fixtures or lamps. When this is done it is important to consider many things, such as lumens, foot candles, color temperature, and Color Rendering Index (CRI) of the replacement LED. These things along with the type of housing that the LED lamp will be going into all need to be considered. Choosing the wrong LED color, for example, can drastically change the look and feel of your office or space.

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Types of led to retrofit to

When choosing your replacement LED fixtures you must also consider how it will be replaced. In recent years, replacing T8 fluorescent lamps with T8 LED lamps has become popular in commercial buildings. These lamps are typically 50% – 60% lower watts than the traditional fluorescent lamps. Retrofitting these lamps can be done in a number of different ways and it is important to get professional advice from a qualified company who is up to date on current code requirements on how to properly retrofit these lamps. There are three types of LED lamps and fixtures to consider.

Direct Wire Lamps

When LED lighting first hit the market and started being retrofitted into all different types of fixtures, it became popular to “bypass” the ballast and put 120v or 277v power directly to the tombstone or base of the lamp. This could be done because the LED lamps had “internal” drivers that would transform the power to the correct voltage for the LED’s. There are some things to consider when it comes to this.

  • Safety
  • Warranty & UL Listings

It has been thought that when you directly wire line voltage to a tombstone or a lamp base you could create a safety risk. The thought here is that the lamps could explode due to not being able to handle the high voltage. Fortunately, this simply isn’t true. Ballasted lamps such as linear T8 lamps are designed to run at a much higher voltage than the traditional 277v or 120v power that is found in commercial lighting. The worst case scenario is a failure to ignite or a burnt out lamp.

It is important to understand the code and UL requirements of fixtures when installing LED retrofits. Whenever you change the original equipment manufacturer’s specifications you could violate UL listings as well as warranties that may be existing.

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Remote Ballast LED Lamps

A number of manufacturers offer LED lamps that have an external driver that can be easily retrofitted in place of the existing ballast or placed inside the fixture housing to power the new LED lamp. This helps assure that if a non-LED lamp is placed inside the lamp holder or tombstone then the light simply won’t turn on instead of causing failures.

Instant Start LED Lamps

In recent years manufacturers have continued to develop LED technology to making retrofitting even easier. One of these new technologies allows LED lamps to be powered by existing electronic ballasts. This allows easy installation of LED lamps by simply removing the old non-led lamp and installing a new LED lamp in its place. This can make the implementation of your LED energy conservation measure less expensive by decreasing the installation time and improving return on investment.

New Fixtures

The last thing to consider is completely replacing the fixture with new LED fixtures.  These fixtures typically have better light dispersion as well as a much lower profile, allowing you to install them in places, such as underneath ductwork, where you previously could not install a light fixture.  These fixtures also work great for outdoor lighting where it may be more economical to replace the whole fixture instead of just replacing the lamps.

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Next Step in the 7 steps to a successfully installing LED lighting retrofit is creating a proper benchmark.

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