Choosing Fluorescent Bulbs


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This presentation provides a cursory overview of the different types of fluorescent bulbs available to the average consumer. There are images to help our readers visualize our words as well as a couple of charts detailing sizes, lumens, and why each is different.

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Choosing Fluorescent Bulbs

  1. 1. Fluorescent Lamps Types and Uses
  2. 2. What is a fluorescent lamp?  Fluorescent lamps work by sending an electrical discharge through mercury vapor. An electrical current is shot through the gas, exciting the mercury atoms.  The UV light produced by the vapor is absorbed by phosphor layers that coat the inside of the bulb.  These phosphor layers produce visible light. Before Electricity After Electricity
  3. 3. Choosing Your Fluorescent Bulb  There are five things to look at when deciding on a bulb:  Color  Brightness  Rated Life  Bulb Diameter  Bulb Length
  4. 4. Color  Color is determined by the mixture of phosphor coating, made up of certain salts and metals, including lanthanum, cerium, europium, terbium, and yttrium.  Color is a variation on white, depending on the temperature, measured in Kelvin (K). Higher Kelvins means brighter and colder lights; lower Ks mean softer and warmer lights Type Color Temperature Daylight Bluish >5000K Cool White Pale Blue 3000-5000K Warm White Pinkish <3000K Full Spectrum White 5000-10000K
  5. 5. Brightness  Fluorescent bulbs need time to achieve peak brightness, a few hours at most.  At about 40% of a light bulb’s life, the fluorescent bulb burns at 90% brightness. It’s working!!! Hours Later… Peak brightness achieved!!!
  6. 6. Rated Life  The rated life of a fluorescent bulb is between 20,000 to 30,000 hours or about 3 ½ years.  Want to extend that life? Leave the lamp on continuously. Switching a bulb on and off and on and off and so on, causes the bulb to dim faster.
  7. 7. Diameter and Length  There currently exists a wide selection of tube sizes and shapes, each referred to by the letter “T”, which means the bulb is a tube.  There is a number after the “T” that refers to the diameter, ranging from T2 to T12.  Length ranges from 6 to 96 inches, from the tip of the lamp to the back of the lampholder. T2 T4 T5 T6 T8 T9 T10 T12 ¼” ½” 5/8” ¾” 1” 1 1/8” 1 ¼” 1 ½” 6-13W 6-28W 4-54W 25W 10- 32W 20W 40W 14- 60W
  8. 8. Any questions?  If you need more help choosing, there are a variety of articles with more information  OR  You can contact the contractors at B.K. Electric Services  310-430-2300 