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What Can I Use to Replace My Outlawed T12 Fluorescent Tubes?

What do I do if my fluorescent light bulbs have been outlawed and are now unavailable?

Is it challenging to find replacement bulbs for your existing fixtures?  If you have been using T12 fluorescent or incandescent bulbs in your light fixtures, you may have already discovered that they are being, or may already have been, phased out.  T12 bulbs are fluorescent tubes that are 1½ inches diameter, and have been used commonly in numerous commercial, multi-family, and manufacturing facilities for many years.  Since T12s are no longer going to be available, you must act now to find an alternative bulb type.

Why are my light bulbs phased out?

In July 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s lighting mandate took effect. Fluorescent T12 lamps and ballasts were phased out and are no longer legal to be produced or imported. This mandate was passed due to federal energy efficiency regulations. 

What are my options?

If your goals are to maximize your lighting system investment, then your options for T12 replacement are:

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  • Replace T12 bulbs and ballasts with either T8 or T5 bulbs and new compatible ballasts
    • Upside - cost effective, short term solution
    • Downside – T12, T8, T5 fluorescent tubes contain mercury and phosphorus which require special hazardous disposal

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  • Replace your existing fixtures with new fixtures and LED lamps
    • Upside – maximum energy savings
    • Downside – initial cost and longer ROI
Best
  • Replace T12 bulbs with new retrofit-LED lamps in your existing fixtures
    • Upside - maximum energy savings and option to upgrade at essentially no cost
    • Downside – you will need to find something to do with your extra time and money  :)

Benefits and advantages of LGS’ LED retrofit lamps

  • Energy savings of 55% to 85% compared to your existing bulbs
  • Less heat generated.  Standard filament bulbs generate 90% heat, 10% light
  • Reduced maintenance costs due to significantly longer lifetime of LEDs
  • 30,000 to 80,000 bulb hours compared to 2,000 to 25,000 bulb hours for traditional
  • Reduce parts inventory
  • No need to dispose of your existing fixtures, as LED retrofit lamps can be used in almost any interior or exterior fixture
  • No need to pay for disposal for fluorescent tubes, CFLs, or ballasts
  • Better quality and color of light
  • Directed light for better illumination and reduced white sky effect
  • Improve security and safety
  • “Healthier” light 
    • Fluorescent lighting has UV has a strong correlation with winter depression (SAD)
    • No flickering from fluorescent tubes
    • No hazardous mercury, phosphors, or PCBs
    • Improve your work environment
  • Reduce your company’s carbon footprint
  • No need for tube guards in manufacturing or food service applications
  • Dimmable LED lights that retain color while dimmed