Energy efficiency in fluorescent lighting has been constantly improving over
the last 20 years and the T8 lamps have been a big part of that. The
transformation from older less efficient types like the T12 has taken hold in
many businesses and homes. But now people are asking for more, they want a
bulb that is not only energy saving, but also gives them exact light they need.
Lighting engineers kept pushing the limit on this
concept, and have have introduced a new standard fluorescent lighting; T8 full
spectrum fluorescent light bulbs. These have the natural daylight color that
many people are looking for to bring true color and a sunlight effect into their
homes. Along with the great light color that looks like outdoor ambient
light, T8 bulbs save even more energy and produce a higher
level of light output than original fluorescent bulbs. You can tell the difference between a T8 and a T12 by measuring the
diameter of the bulb. A T8 bulb will be 1 inch in diameter, compared to 1 1/2
inch for the T12 bulb. The T8 are far more energy efficient and operate on
an electronic ballast usually configured to run several variances of T8 lamps.
The most common one is the 32 watt or F32T8 lamp which has been used in office
lighting for years and is still being used in many lighting retrofit projects.
As with all fluorescent bulbs, they rely on ballasts inside of the fixtures
in order to make them work. Ballasts are available from Universal and we have
many of those in stock, among others. Almost all fixtures for T8 full spectrum
come with ballasts already mounted and wired. The ballast is important because
it is specific for each type of lamp. You can't change from one type of
fluorescent to another without changing the ballast in most cases.
On some occasions there may be a ballast that is made for several different
types such as in the case of T8 lamps. These will typically be the same ballast
for 32 watt, 25 watt and even the 17 watt T8. This makes it possible to
keep less items on the shelf as replacement parts for fixtures.
Because there are so many different phosphor colors, maybe some explanation
would help to properly identify your bulb. The full spectrum has
special phosphors that give it a similar color to daylight or natural sunshine. It produces light the way our eyes naturally use it, giving better visual acuity
and reducing problems like eyestrain. This is especially important in the
office environment where people are using computer screens all day long, it can
be very helpful. But fluorescents can come in many
other colors as well and are identified by their Kelvin temperature. By definition, virtually all are full spectrum in that they contain some of all colors in their
spectral range. However, the term full spectrum is primarily used when referring to those lamps
that fall into the white to blue/white color temperature range. Color
temperature is measured by a term called Kelvin. 3000 Kelvin would be a warm
tone color, 5000 Kelvin would be a white color and 6500 Kelvin would be a
blue/white color. There are some of the older types of fluorescents
that don't use these terms but sometimes are called by a certain color such as
"cool white" or warm white". Those are the T12 variety and
could be retrofitted to the newer T8 full spectrum fluorescent light bulbs. In
any case, color matters, and for many people this higher color temperature is
desired for the types of lighting effect they want to achieve. The
higher color rendition of these lamps make them ideal for retail lighting where
you need to have correct colors, so people can make good buying choices and your
product can make a better impression.
There are many types of T8 fluorescent bulbs, but we want you to be aware of this new full spectrum
color. There are also the
daylight compact fluorescent types which screw into regular light bulb sockets and there
are the plug-in type which are used in many original architectural fixtures.
Whatever type you choose, you will be getting the light you want while saving
energy in the process. We have a large inventory of
fluorescent bulbs for nearly every type of light fixture in the field. If
you need help identifying the bulb, our customer service
representatives can help you determine what you have.