Tubes, Retrofits Or New Fixtures: Choosing The Right Lighting Solution


If you own or manage a facility that currently uses fluorescent lighting, you’re losing money. That’s because the excessive energy consumption and frequent maintenance associated with it eats into your profit margins. That’s on top of the fact that fluorescent lighting is often sub-standard for most business’s illumination needs.


The most common issues with these systems include:

 Using too much electricity: A 4-foot fixture typically uses two to four tubes. Each one consumes 28 to 40 watts. In the case of 8-foot fixtures, this can be between 75 and 96 watts per tube. In addition, the ballast consumes about 10 watts. This means each fixture could be using up to 394 watts. Because you probably have more than one, chances are you’re using a significant amount of power just to light your space.

  • Requiring regular maintenance: Because they only last about 30,000 hours on average, fluorescent tubes need to be replaced often, and when one fails, it affects the performance and look of the entire fixture. This requires trained personnel to climb onto a ladder or scissor lift to open the fixture and install the replacement. Great care must be taken when switching and disposing old tubes because they contain mercury.


Switching to LED

On the other hand, upgrading your facility to LED lighting can provide numerous advantages. The most important of these include:

  • Energy efficiency: A 4-foot LED fixture uses only 30 to 60 watts, resulting in a 65% to 80% reduction in your electricity consumption.
  • Longer life span: Rated for between 50,000 and 100,000 hours, LEDs last a lot longer than fluorescents. In addition, their warranty periods are usually between five and 10 years.
  • More control: The majority of these lights feature dimming to control brightness. They can also come equipped with sensors and controls for occupancy sensing, daylight harvesting, time scheduling and scene creation, which enable an increased level of customization as well as further reduced energy consumption.

If you want to take advantage of this technology, there are myriad fluorescent-to-LED upgrade options. Depending on your situation, one may be better than the others.

Here is some basic information to use when choosing the right lighting upgrade for your property.


Tube-for-Tube Replacement

This involves simply swapping fluorescent tubes with LED replacements, known as TLEDs. This appears to be faster and cheaper than other methods. However, installing a lamp-only lighting replacement into an existing ballast means there’s still a chance that the ballast will fail and need to be replaced shortly down the line. Depending on the type of TLEDs being used, the fixture may also require some rewiring work, which could add to the installation cost.

Retrofitting Existing Troffers

With LED retrofit products, new components are added to your existing lighting system. This is the most common choice for renovation projects and upgrades. Retrofitting reduces the amount of waste disposal and labor costs for your project. Another benefit of LED retrofit kits is that they typically install within the existing fluorescent troffer, eliminating the need to open up the ceiling plenum, which could expose the space to contamination caused by dust, particulates or asbestos. You also have the opportunity to use the existing cover and keep the current look, or use an option that provides a completely new look altogether.

Installing New Fixtures

With new LED fixtures, all existing components of your fixture will need to be removed and replaced. New fixtures will be a good choice for new construction projects or renovations where a new grid ceiling is being installed. One of the advantages of new LED light fixtures is that they can be incorporated into the plans from the ground up and present the designers with more choices instead of working with what already exists.


Choosing LEDs makes a lot of sense for your operations. However, there are many considerations that go into how you’ll incorporate LEDs into your facilities. Litetronics has a complete lineup of solutions including retrofits as well as fixtures such as high bays and luminaires.


Get in touch with our knowledgeable representatives today to learn more about how we can help you. Additionally, our online rebate tracker can show if you will be eligible for rebates from your utility provider.