There is still a lot of confusion, misinformation, and concern on LED tube safety on the market. This short article provides a quick checklist on the issues with different LED tube designs, the lighting performance trend, and the recommendation of the newest dual-mode LED tube that works with ballast and AC line voltage.
Points to Consider Prior to Upgrading T8/T12 Fluorescent to LED Tube Technology
1. The 18 watt LED tube was the mainstream LED tube spec in 2015. This year, the industry standard LED tube is 15 watts with improved efficacy of 120 lumens per watt. Simply going from 18 to 15 watts yields an additional 17% in energy savings while still providing superior lighting performance.
2. If you plan on using an LED tube in a single-end wired fixture with line voltage, please be aware that if someone accidentally installs a fluorescent T8 into the fixture, it will short out at 110V and very likely explode at 277V. This is why the single-end LED tube is losing market share as more facilities managers and utility companies have become aware of this inherent safety liability.
3. The Dual Mode LED tube was officially recognized by DLC (DesignLights Consortium) in July 2015 for its latest LED tube category. It can work on both line voltage and with a ballast. The Dual Mode LED tube has several advantages over a ballast-dependent LED tube. First, a ballast-dependent tube requires a ballast to operate and a ballast draws an additional 2-3 watts per lamp. Secondly, there are ballast replacement and maintenance costs associated with using a ballast-dependent tube. The dual mode LED tube can be used in both environments and is not ballast-dependent, thus saving more energy and eliminating future ballast maintenance costs. Janitors can easily insert the dual-mode tube just like they would an ordinary T8 fluorescent. When the ballast fails, electricians can come in (at a convenient time) and remove the ballast and rewire the sockets for more energy savings. This process incurs no additional retrofit labor costs versus regular T8 maintenance, making the dual-mode LED tube the most cost-effective choice for T8/T12 upgrade.
4. Please be advised that most dual-mode LED tubes on the market today have UL certification for ballast operation only, and are not UL certified for line voltage operation. Though they can operate with line voltage, their manufacturers do not inform the end user that there could be an electric shock hazard.
5. The Aleddra G5 DBA+ LED Tube is a dual mode LED tube, working with ballast and line voltage, and is UL certified for both operations (UL #479597).
6. Aleddra’s Surefit DBA+ LED Tube has safety switches on both end caps which protects the installer from electric shock.
7. Aleddra’s Surefit DBA+ LED Tube has a patented field replaceable driver that takes just a few minutes to install, and extends the life of the LED tube an additional 5+ years. Aleddra offers this as a 10-year extended warranty at less than 1/3 the cost of a new tube. This also reduces waste in the landfill.
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