Replacing 4' Florescent Light Tubes with LED

Most of my lights have just hit the seven years of service mark. I know I will need to start replacing the tubes very soon. Does anyone have any experience changing over to LED lighting?

I just looked at the replacement LEDs and the price is about half of what it was when I looked into it a year or two back - though still about $70 U.S. for each bulb. Besides the price, the other major drawback is the need to remove the ballast. Maybe that’s fairly simple if you have some wiring skill, but I do not and would need to be shown how or have to call in an electrician.

Time to do a cost/benefit analysis! I have a store I was planning to pull out some old T12 fixtures and replace them with brand-new T8 ones. Maybe I’ll be going the LED route instead now that the price has come down so much.


I crunched the numbers.

For me, each LED bulb would save about $11.00/year in electricity. Nothing to sneeze at but the initial investment would take 5 years to recoup. That’s a lot of upfront money to save about $12/month on my electric bill.

Look into the T5 fluorescent fixtures as well… Those things are crazy bright and dirt cheap to run, especially if you get the ones that have the mirrored reflectors in them instead of just the plain white ones. By going with the mirrored reflectors, you might even be able to cut your fixture wattage down.

When I was doing an ROI on some parking lighting upgrades, the T5’s were a better option than the LED’s, both in brightness and energy use.

Also, one thing you might look into, I heard that LED’s can get crazy hot. Not necessarily the LED’s themselves, but the “driver” that powers the LED’s.

Also, it might be a good idea to try just one fixture for awhile and see how you like working under it. Some fixtures can have a bit of a flicker to them that might drive you crazy.

And finally, when comparing fixtures, go by lumen output and not wattage comparisons.

Lumens and color (temperature) both!


After doing a tad bit more research on the subject, I guess T5’s are mainly only used when you have them like 15+ feet in the air.

Brad’s on the right track with the T8 fixtures… Also, make sure you get electronic ballasts as they are more efficient than magnetic ballasts.

There’s a video on youtube where a guy changed some T12’s out for T8’s, and he ended up cutting the number of bulbs per fixture in half with essentially the same light output.