When it comes to lighting up a work area, office, warehouse, or garage, fluorescent light bulbs tend to be the ones chosen more often than other types of bulbs. When compared to incandescent lighting, fluorescent lights are longer lasting and use much less energy. There are several kinds of fluorescent bulbs; the most common of these is the T12 bulb. The letter 'T' indicates the shape of the bulb (tubular) and the '12' represents the diameter of the bulb in eighths of an inch (12 eighths, or 1 1/2 inches).
As with all fluorescent bulbs, Sylvania T12 bulbs rely on ballasts inside of the fixtures in order to make them work. Ballasts are available from Universal, Magnatek, Advance, Osram Sylvania, among others. Almost all fixtures for circline bulbs come with ballasts already mounted and wired.
T12 bulbs are used more in residential applications as opposed to commercial applications. They are the least expensive fluorescent bulbs, and the fixtures that use them are widely available. Commercial applications will often use Sylvania T8 bulbs, as they will save even more energy than the Sylvania T12 models. However, the up-front cost for the bulbs is marginally higher and T8 bulbs need different, more intricate electronic ballasts.
The length of T12 bulbs varies from 15 inches all the way to 12 feet. They are available in two basic types: the standard and the high-output. Standard T12 bulbs have two pins on each end of the bulb. They provide a normal fluorescent light level for general applications. They should not be used in very cold areas, as they may fail to light up when temperatures get below 32 degrees. High Output T12 bulbs have one oblong black plastic piece on each end of the bulb. The provide a higher level of light output than Standard T12 bulbs and use more wattage to do so. They are used in cold temperature locations, such as garages, outdoor signs, and freezers.
The color temperatures available in common T12 light bulbs are 3000K (warm white), 3500K (warm/cool blend), 4100K (cool white), and 5000K (pure white). Full spectrum bulbs are also available in T12. Vendors such as Osram Sylvania, GE (General Electric), Philips, and Westinghouse offer several types of T12 bulb. One of the enhanced lines is Sylvania's Designer series. These bulbs will provide all the features and benefits of what has already been listed here, as well as an improved CRI or color rendering index. This means your blue jeans with fuchsia top will look more vibrant than under normal T12 bulbs. It is a wonderful tool for showcase lighting, art display lighting, and many other applications that need to show proper and vibrant colors.
The very latest enhancement to Sylvnaia T12 light bulbs is the eco-friendly design. According to Sylvania, "Ecologic is a comprehensive program focused on addressing environmental issues at all stages of lamp life." They go on to say that bulbs in this category "are designed to meet the Federal Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) criteria for classification as non-hazardous waste in most states." If you are sensitive to the impact of hazardous material in the environment we live in, then energy saving T12 ECO bulbs are a great option for you.